What is it? Is the #1 concern for our country economics? Is it education? Is it unemployment? Taxes? All are certainly serious issues we, as Americans face. However, none of these issues, or any other for that matter, are as important as one: Our Nation’s security. Without the USA being protected and secure, it doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat, if you have health care benefits, or even how much money you have in your pocket.. We learned on September 11, 2001, what happens if we forget our priorities, even for a moment.
So, if our nation’s security is our #1 priority, then so must be those who protect her, our US Military. I feel it’s fair to say that we all (with exceptions that will get no PR on my blog) are thankful for our Armed Forces and always have been. In many cases, our now retired military were drafted into the military. No choice. Back in the day, if drafted, you were forced to fight for our country, whether you wanted to or not. I am so very grateful for those who were forced to give up so much, their lives, their family, their businesses, etc. Many did not make it back, or if they did, not in one piece. Others came home physically fine, but mentally, never recovered.
Now fast forward past our last mandatory draft (in the late 1960’s). The men and women who have gone into the Military since then, went in voluntarily. When you speak to these men and women, a familiar trend as far as to “why” they volunteered is largely the same, they felt a calling, a calling that they were meant to protect our country and it’s citizen’s.
To come back home, no matter your job in the “machine” that is the U.S. Military, men and women are changed. Some find it very difficult to integrate back into the day to day of their former lives. Some are able to handle this better than others. From those I have spoken to, the hardest part is the feeling of not being appreciated. Now, please don’t misinterpret what I am saying here. They are not angry, not at all. I just detect a bit of underlying sadness in them and, to me, this is a travesty.
Whenever I see a man or a woman wearing something that ties them to our Armed Forces, I always thank them for their service. I can’t tell you how many times the response to that has been something like, “well thank you, I don’t get told that much anymore”. Really?? Shocking isn’t it? The media gives “shout-outs” to our Service men and women, yes. But, on a personal one-on-one basis, they are not hearing it like they should, like they deserve to.
Prior to Christmas, I found a man I’ll call “Frank” on ebay who sells all things military. He actually had photographs of the submarine my husband spent a lot of time on when he was in the U.S. Navy. I bought some things from him and “the wife” as he called her, through in some other things for free. I was touched and made sure he knew. I thanked him for his service and finding/selling Military items because he is, “keeping history alive”. An hour later, I received an email from him stating that “the wife” was taking him to have some nasty dental work done in the morning. He saw he had something in his inbox and thought, “what now, who’s complaining about somittething they bought” but to his surprise, it was my letter. He told me he was going to read it again right before bed and would sleep more peacefully that night…He’s not the only one that slept more peacefully that night.
As recently as yesterday, I met a knew friend on twitter. With his permission, I can tell you @timothykendrick said to me. First of all, his bio on twitter reads, “Retired U.S. Army….Walked away from it all a better man”. I read that and immediately tweeted to him that I was truly grateful for his service to our country. He replied that he really needed to hear that because sometimes he feels forgotten. I could literally give you example after example of this because I go out of my way to thank both current and former military personnel when I see them. ***
We ALL need to do this. We need to teach or children and our children’s children in kind. It’s a small thing, but to that person who receives your thanks, it means everything.
And so, to all of the former and present members of the United States Armed Forces, I say a most sincerely THANK YOU. Without you, I would not be…..me.
***Whether you are a current or a former member of our U. S. Military, please make us aware you served by wearing a hat/pin/shirt, anything, and/or tag your car so the rest of us know of your service and can thank you appropriately.