I come from a largely military family. My grandfather (Dad's Dad) was in the Army in WWII. He served under General Patton and was present for the raiding of a concentration camp. I cannot even convey to you the horrors he witnessed on those days. I wish I could remember him, but he died when I was only a few months old. Because of my grandmother's immense pride in him, and through her influence, I practically grew up at her local VFW. I pulled Bingo balls, chatted with the vets, and participated in every Veterans event I could. Sadly, my grandmother died before she could realize her goal and watch me join the very same VFW when I turned 16. However, I still joined, and I cried as they swore me in. If there were ever I time I hoped she was watching me, that would be it. I am still a member of the very same VFW post; I have been a member for 13 years.
My other grandfather was in the Army during WWII as well, until they realized he was under the age of 18 and kicked him out. He then enlisted in the NAVY and served our country at sea for the next 4 years. He never talked about his time in the service to anyone, except for the bar fights, he was, after all, a sailor.
My husband served our country for 10 years in the Navy. I would like to say that it was a good life, because at times, it was, but it was also very hard. He missed so many holidays, events, and 10 1/2 months of our pre-children marriage. In fact, he would have missed the birth of our son as well if I hadn't self-induced the little guy to be born before the ship pulled out for a 2 week work-up. Fun times. He missed Charlie's month 3-9 because we had sold our house and the baby and I moved back to the Midwest to find a house and settle in before Daddy's time in Virginia was up. We didn't see him for more than 3 days between July and Christmas 2004. It was very hard on all of us. I am very proud of my husband, and his service to this country. Every single sacrifice was worth it, even the post 9-11 deployment from hell.
I have always had an immense respect for our Veterans and their families. I never understood those that didn't. I don't agree with the war, but I have always supported our military men and women that are out there every single day lying their lives on the line, and not knowing whether or not they will return to their family's warm embrace.
Please thank a vet today. Thank him/her for their service, whether or not you agree with the war/conflict they participated in. They didn't make the orders, they just followed them because it is their job. You wouldn't treat a logger badly because you don't agree with his company cutting down trees, would you?!? Thank a vet, think of all of the sacrifices they, and their family had to make every single day.