As I prepared for the flags to be up this weekend I started really thinking about that the veterans in my life. My father-in-law (83) is a retired Colonel who served in Korea. My wife's grandfather (lived to be almost 101) was a POW for 5 years in the Philippines and survived the Bataan Death March. I also have many veterans that I know both at church and at work.
I never have served in the military, and I do not ever claim to understand what our service members go through. What I do know, is that I live the life I have, with the security of our freedom, because of what they are doing both today and in the past.
There are so many things that are the direct results of our military protecting our freedom:
We can worship where we choose to
- We can debate our opinions of how our government is doing
- We can vote for our leaders
- And so much more... (aka Bill of Rights)
Sometimes I find it hard to talk to veterans about their service, so I say "Thank you for your service" I don't want to offend, I don't want to hurt, I don't know what to say! Then I sometimes get so afraid, I don't say anything at all.
My son and I were working on pinewood derby cars with some Cub Scouts at a leader's house. Their neighbor came over and had a Vietnam service hat on. Adam (maybe 11 at the time) said to the man helping, "I see your hat, thank you for your service." The man's face lit up and started telling a few stories about his time in the military. We all loved the stories, and I was glad to hear them. I couldn't have been more proud of Adam. I was afraid to say anything, but what an opportunity we would have all missed if Adam had not said something.
Then recently I saw on social media platforms:
"Veteran's Day is coming up. Approximately 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Would at least 22 of my Facebook friends please copy and repost?
Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255"
22 a day! 8,000 a year! Some are young men just coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, but others are older veterans of Vietnam, WWII, and other conflicts.
Back to my thoughts of the veterans I know personally...What is going on with them? Are they ok? Do they know I care and appreciate them, for what they did and for who they are today?
There are so many resources out there to help erase this issue! #Mission22 is just one and on that site I found a great TED Talk about talking to Veterans... which helped a lot. (Linked Here)
So as you see flags out this weekend, try to talk to a veteran. Show them you care and are thankful for what they have done and who they are today. Their service doesn't end when they come home...
If you are a Veteran - My family and I sincerely appreciate everything you and your family have sacrificed while you served our country. THANK YOU!
God Bless America!