We are surrounded by veterans – friends, family, our grandparents, parents, and spouses who have all taken the ultimate step forward to defend our country. Some may have died in combat before we knew them and all we have to keep their memories alive are the stories told to us.
I was fortunate to know my grandfather. He was a WWII veteran and what many would classify as a hero. He was a quiet man and one who refused to speak of the atrocities he witnessed while serving. When I was young, I once asked my mother why he never spoke of the war and her wise words have never left me. She told me that sometimes the things we experience in this life are beyond words. So, out of respect for him, and concern that we would upset him, we never brought it up. I think this has been what has often stopped me from thanking other veterans as I pass them on the street or see them at a local restaurant.
In July 2013, that brave man died at 90 years old. He died as stoically as he lived, but I have a great regret – I never shared with him my pride or gratitude for what he went through while in the service, or for the sacrifices he made for my freedom and my children’s freedom. The words were whispered, but never spoken. So, today I am hoping my words will find a way to transcend time and space and make their way to him.
I am only now beginning to understand the magnitude of what you and men like yourself went through. I realize that the things we take most for granted are the very things that deserve the most gratitude.
I once read a quote, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
You, and the men who served before you, alongside you, as well as those who served after you answered a call to defend liberty and the freedoms of this nation in order to better our country; and for this, I must thank you.
Thank you for your courage and for what you had to endure for the sake of freedom. It is because of your dedication and effort that my family can sleep soundly and peacefully at night.
The words that I write today are no comparison to the gratitude that I feel in my heart. I will love you always and your service will never be forgotten.
I understand that freedom is never free and I want to take this time to thank all of you who put your life on the line to fight for this country. Thank you for the sacrifices you made, as well as those you had to make in your personal lives. And to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives, you did not die in vain.
Each and every one of you inspire me and I hope that our future generations grow up with the same amount of pride that I have for you. As a whole, we are all better people for what you put on the line. Because of what you had to train for and endure, we are standing upon your shoulders.
Today is not just another day off of work. It is a day to pause and examine the sacrifices these men and women made and to show our gratitude to those that served this great nation.
If by chance you feel compelled to support our veterans, donate to the Wounded Warrior project.
About the Wounded Warrior Project:
- To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
- To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
- To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
Happy Veteran’s Day to all. And to the servicemen and women, once again, thank you for your dedication and love of our country.