The service of our veterans is something I never really connected with until I married a soldier. The men and woman I have met through this time have been an impressive example of people who understand what being an American means. The love and honor of our country is not some intangible idea but rather something they sacrifice their lives for. Sacrifice comes in many forms through the daily pounding of their bodies during physical training to long years away from their friends, families, and life. I know families who have had their soldier pay the ultimate price of their lives and others who sacrifice seeing their children take their first steps or lose their front teeth. All soldiers and their families sacrifice parts of themselves for our freedom. They stand on the wall for us so that we don't have to.
These experiences have made me think about what it would have been like for my mom's dad, who served during World War II and was on the second wave behind the marines on Iwo Jima. What part of himself did he sacrifice for this country? Was it his innocence? Was it this experience that defined him as a man of principle? Is this what turned him into the gentle giant I remember? I think of him when I look at men of his age who proudly wear their veteran's hats and wish he was still here.
In the mix of all of the politics and media, today I think of all of the men and women who have served our country in the military. I think of them and appreciate that they are strong enough Americans to endure what they do.
Happy Veterans Day.