He might be your father or brother. She may live across the street or teach at your children’s school. Many of them are deployed in faraway places, missed by loved ones who wish they were home. Our veterans are all around us and all around the world.
They volunteer for this remarkable duty performing jobs we cannot imagine. Veterans’ Day has always been a date to honor these special men and women, and we thank them with parades and an outpouring of support. What else can we do to show our gratitude for their selfless sacrifice? If we were to ask our veterans, they might answer that they don’t join the armed forces expecting thanks, but it’s very much appreciated.
The young man with prosthetic legs is grateful for the technology and care that helps him stand tall again. The woman who treasured letters from home understands the blessing of living in a country where her children are free to be whatever they dream. Those still stationed overseas understand the vital role they play in shaping the future, but they know the years ahead won’t always play out the way they hope.
We all know these veterans because they are an extension of our national pride and commitment to the foundations of freedom that make this country strong. We see them everyday, but we don’t always recognize them.
The homeless man sleeping on a park bench, the mother raising her children alone and the couple making life in a tiny apartment bearable are all veterans. Unless we reach out and ask how we can show our appreciation, we will never know them. Today, we can change that.
When the parades are over, it’s up to us to show our gratitude every day. We will not do it for their thanks. We will do it because they deserve to be recognized.