From the Revolutionary War to ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, America’s growth as a nation and the defense of its people and position in the world has often come at the hands of the armed forces.
Through times of peace and war, literally millions of young men and women have put on the uniform for various branches of the service over the generations, serving, sometimes fighting, to keep America as the one shining light which shows the world what democracy can achieve. The nation has more than its share of problems, but it is still the country that many around the world look to for help, for hope, and for leadership.
Much of that is because of the faithful work done by those serving in the military. Serving in the armed forces takes sacrifice, even for those serving in peace time or who are relatively unscathed during war time. There is tough physical and mental training, learning a disciplined lifestyle beyond what most in civilian life understand, moving around the world with little input by the individual on residential decisions, putting career plans on hold, and time away from family and friends.
Eventually, whether it be after an initial short term of service, or after a career spent in the military, soldiers leave their uniforms behind and rejoin the rest of the nation as civilians. But, their sacrifices stay with them. For those who served in active war zones, sometimes there are health issues, oftentimes difficulty readjusting to civilian life. Even decades after serving, oftentimes bad memories or nightmares of what was seen in war zones haunt them.
Even for those who served during peaceful periods, time spent away from family and friends can never be made up, time spent serving instead of pursuing a career can still affect their work and lifestyle decades later.
These are among the reasons we should honor all veterans, even those who served in peace time or served many decades ago. Today is the day set aside for such observances, but we hope readers will realize veterans should be honored throughout the year. If you know a veteran, thank him or her for their service. Cook a meal for him, rake her yard, wash their car, send them a card — there are so many ways to show gratitude. Do something today, this week, and again throughout the year.