As a writer, I am seldom at a loss for words, today is one of those times. For I have no words that can even express my gratitude to the men and women who have served, continue to serve, and who will serve this country in support of my freedom. You put your lives on hold in order for me to live out my dreams as a writer and editor. How can I begin to thank you for this tremendous gift that you have bestowed upon a complete stranger?
You chose to take valuable time away from your own dreams in pursuit of an even greater cause. You chose to spend valuable time away from your family in the pursuit to ensure their future and their freedom. You chose to put yourself in harms way in pursuit of protecting those whom you have never even met. You chose to serve your country, despite the cost to you and your family.
You would think, as a writer, that I would be able to provide the most eloquent of words to convey the deep feelings of gratitude that I have. Yet, I can not. I can only rant against the disappointing political machine that fails to provide you with the honor and respect that you so deserve. For this political machine I speak of has failed to recognize that you deserve more than just words for your service. You deserve financial as well.
Parades and flowers do not pay the bills. Thanks does not put food on the table for you and your family. Verbal recognition does not keep the roof over your head. None of these things can keep the home fires burning while you are away. None of these things can ease the fears of your family that you may be put in danger in order to ensure the safety and sanctity of the United States of America.
Though I am sure that you appreciate these kind gestures of gratitude, I cannot help but feel that it is just not enough. That we, as a nation, owe you so much more than our simple gratitude. I feel that I owe you so much more than mere words written that barely scratch the surface of the emotions that I feel.
I am but one woman, a child of a career military man whom I adore and hold the highest level of respect. He has proven himself the highest caliber of a man, a husband, a father, a serviceman, and a human being. His love for his country resonates daily as he ages before my eyes. His concern for those who served after him and for those who serve now knows no bounds. He weeps for those who are lost in battle, as he also weeps for those that are left behind. He worries for your families and feels impotent that he is unable to make your world better.
He served his country by serving the families of those who lost loved ones during times of war. He served his fellow comrades in arms by supporting their families as you mended your mind and your body so you could return home. He served his family by exhibiting the true nature of being an American.
His kindness evidences the truth of his heart. The tears he sheds each time he sees a member of the military forces return home, reminds me of the times I watched him leave. When I see him sleeping in his reclining chair, his brow furrowed from his dreams, I am grateful that I was one of the lucky ones. That my father came home. That my father remains that honorable man I have known my whole life. That I know what a hero looks like and how a hero behaves. I know what a hero represents.
He seldom speaks of those times overseas during wars. He says those things are of the past and that he did what he did, saw what he saw, and lived to come home so that I would never know the evils of war. Instead he speaks of the times that he spent with the families who suffered great loss during times of war. He speaks of their bravery, of their compassion, of their strength to endure. He speaks of their everlasting loyalty to the country their loved one served.
He speaks of the men and women who had more battles to fight once they came home. How they suffered from the guilt of surviving where their brothers in arms did not. He speaks of the moments when these men and women realized that they were finally winning their battles at home. The look in their eyes when they finally held their families in their arms. The smiles that he saw when they were able to go home to their families after a long hard battle in the military hospital.
These are the things that he chooses share with me. But I know, when it is quiet, and I am long asleep, that the memories of the things he saw, the things he heard…they are back with him. But these are the things that keeps buried, deep within, so that they can only be used as weapons of strength and fortitude.
So I say to all those who have served, are serving, plan to serve in this great nations military forces; and I say to all of your families…THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU.