Willing to Exchange Our Lives for Your Freedom (Part 2)

Have you ever considered this...?  "A Veteran, whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve, is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to and including his or her own life."  Unknown

 Did you know that many studies indicate that 92% of military families felt that the civilian population doesn’t understand or appreciate their sacrifices?

The month of May is Military Appreciation Month...    In honor of the men and women that have written a blank check for their lives in exchange for our freedom, I asked several friends to help us understand their choice…  Four veterans and the mother of a veteran shared some powerful thoughts and several ideas about how civilians can understand and support veterans and their families at a higher level in a post on my blog earlier this week.  

After the post was scheduled one of the veterans I had reached out to, responded.  (He had debated about sharing his thoughts and finally agreed, if I promised not to share his name.)

"I am proud to have served in the United States Army from 2004 to 2008. I have been part of both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most obvious reason for my service was to our Country.  I really wanted to free people from oppression. Living in suburbia was unexciting and I wanted to be part of something bigger. 

The hardest thing about my term was war. War is an entity that only those who experience can understand. War changes your brain function to a constant survival mode. You often wonder if every day will be your last.

What I learned is a new value for life. No matter what the circumstance you can find beauty in everything. I remember spending a night out on the border of Afghanistan, having a moment to pause and look up to the heavens above me outside my night vision goggles. Because of the complete lack of light pollution I witnessed to this day the most profound view of the stars I will ever see. I will never forget that image. Even amidst all that is around you, God can still show His beauty.

It is often a hard experience for us to bring to understanding for civilians. We do our best, but it is partially one of those things where, “You just had to be there." We greatly appreciate all the support. I hate to bring this fact to light but the phrase, “thank you for your service," becomes a bit repetitive. It does not go unappreciated. None of us did it for glory, at least the ones I know. It may sound bad but it becomes a greeting from soldier to soldier in mockery. It might be because we hear it so much, and I stated don't take this the wrong way. 

Although putting even the small amount of energy into expressing even simply, “Thank you for what you have done for this country, It means a lot to me and my family," does wonders more. It is similar to the act of prayer. It is one thing to just pray for something, it is another to put energy into it with your prayer. It seems like the phrase, "You are in my prayers" gets thrown out there often. Not everyone but sometimes people just say this phrase to express concern and don't even pray. I believe prayer is not only asking or being thankful, it goes along with doing what you can to put energy behind it or show it."

Please see the full post for more suggestions about how civilians can support our military men and women and their families at a higher level...

Photo Credit:  Microsoft

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