Today is Veterans Day. Regardless of political leanings or attitudes about hot-button issues, I think most of us are in agreement that our country is safe due in large part to the reputation, strength, and ingenuity of our military forces.
It’s easy on days like these to hear a brief acknowledgement of “Thanks for your service and sacrifice” without understanding what that really means.
When we think of sacrifice on Veterans Day, most of us picture a wounded warrior or a soldier fighting on the front lines. And not to trivialize that bravery – because it absolutely deserves to be acknowledged and honored – but the everyday sacrifice of our military members and their families paints a much, much broader picture. So today, here is my feeble attempt to help those of you understand more of the day-to-day sacrifices made by members of our armed forces and what that looks like.
- It’s the newlywed husband who bunks in a room with 80 other men while his bride spends her nights alone in an empty apartment.
- It’s a commitment to a life lacking long-term stability. Regular relocations mean knowing that the dear friends who celebrated with you when you brought home your first baby probably won’t be the same ones sitting next to you at soccer practice in five years. And you definitely won’t be watching your kids graduate from high school together.
- It’s raising your kids several states away from your parents and extended family, without the ability to call them in a pinch and grieving the closer relationship you wish your kids had with their grandparents.
- It’s feeling a sense of loss for your children who won’t have a depth of childhood roots and history, and won’t have a BFF they’ve grown up with since birth.
- It’s the mother who’s had a long day with the kids and doesn’t get the end-of-the-day reprieve because her husband is away for training.
- It’s the heart of a parent who’s been away from their kids and loves them dearly but wonders whether they actually know them anymore.
- It’s not just missing the big moments. It’s missing the small ones. The ones you didn’t even think you’d miss.
- It means that in households with two working adults, there is no discussion over whose career is more important. The decision has been made for you.
- It’s the anxiety of a spouse who needs to blindly trust their partner to keep things running smoothly while they’re away, and the weight on the shoulders of the one left behind to make big decisions alone.
And sometimes, it’s about committing to sacrifices you didn’t even know you had to make until you’ve already made them.
The sacrifices of our nation’s military are big and small – made up of heroic moments that define a person and lifelong concessions for the sake of defending freedom. Thank you, veterans and families, for your sacrifice. No matter what’s going on in our country, one thing is for certain. There’s absolutely no place I’d rather raise my kids. Thank you for making it so.
Who here in our allmomdoes community is a veteran or member of the military community? Tell us about your own everyday sacrifices in the comments below. And thank you for all you do.