Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You, Veterans!

Being Veteran's Day, we honor those who have served in our military armed forces throughout the years and currently. We think of those who have gone before during whatever war, action, skirmish, or whatever we're calling it now. We pass by service men and women on a daily basis, some we thank, others we have no idea that they even served.

I recently had the privilege of sitting next to a young veteran on my train ride from Louisiana back to Illinois. Although he wasn't going very far, the time we did have on this train ride provided enough information into the life of this young man that I have an even bigger respect for those who serve in our military.

I can't imagine what happens to those who serve during times of war or combat. Frankly, I don't want to know. But whatever it is that they see or experience is enough to alter them for the rest of their lives. My companion on this train ride was retired Air Force, just back in the States from Japan. He served in the military for three-and-a-half years. He was twenty-six. His name was Nick.

Our veterans have given much more than just their time and skills to protect us and those we love. Our freedom is not free. Someone had to pay for that. Many someone's did. Our veterans. They have given their very lives, both mentally, emotionally, and physically for our freedom. Veterans throughout the years have been giving to continue our freedom. It's a gift that is continually being paid for in some form or another.

In the short amount of time I had with the young man who sat with me on the train, listening to him talk, however inconspicuously, about things he experienced and in general made me realize that this is exactly how my grandfather's both acted. They would talk to us, but there was always something else they weren't saying that lay just under the surface. They would speak in innuendos and in a roundabout way, never giving complete information. Just hints. It left lots to the imagination. They were young when they served in WWII but their memories stayed with them their entire lives. Just as this young man's would with him.

Whenever you meet a veteran, say thank you. They will act uncomfortable because to them, they don't see how what they did was helpful. Still, tell them thank you. Buy their meal. Buy their coffee or soda. Because without their service, we would not enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy right now. And above all else, respect their quirks. They are not weird. They are just trying to live; live with the memories of the things they have seen and experienced that we didn't have to.

It kind of puts it into perspective when you look at it like that. I know that it breaks my heart and increases my level of compassion for our veterans. They have so much to deal with that we will never know about.

Veterans Day. A day of remembrance. A day to say thank you. So with that, Thank you Grandpa Johnny, Grandpa Roy, Boots, Butch, Mark, Chaz, Mr. Mosley, Nick, Ravyn and Johan, Brian, Andrea, Steve, and every military veteran we have. Your service is greatly appreciated and respected.


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