I’m a pacifist. I’d rather there weren’t wars or conflicts between (or within) countries. But that’s not how it works, unfortunately. Some folks, regardless of how they feel about the issues, volunteer themselves to be put in harm’s way should a conflict occur. Today, I am thankful for those who make that choice and who serve or have served in our nation’s military. On this Veterans Day I am thankful for our veterans.
Fun fact: I was born on an Air Force base. My dad was in the Air Force way back when. The base I was born on was eventually closed, which is kind of strange because that means the place I was born, Kincheloe AFB in Michigan, doesn’t exist any more. Later we lived at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho. I was starting 3rd grade when we moved from Idaho to Louisiana because they moved Dad to Barksdale AFB. We didn’t actually live on base there. I don’t even remember that base, not like I do MHAFB.
I remember my parents had lots of friends at MHAFB; just regular folks. They must have been in their 20s or early 30s, as at that time my folks were in their mid-20s. But the thing about that group of friends who would hang out and laugh and drink beer and do all the normal things people do at that age is they all made the choice to serve their country. They decided it was worth the risk to stand up for their country, even if that meant being called to be in harm’s way.
That’s a big deal. I’m so proud of my fellow citizens who have made the choice to serve, and thankful they made that choice so I never had to.
That choice has cost some their lives, and though others lives have been spared, during their service they sustained life changing injuries. If you don’t already support a veteran’s group, consider the Wounded Warrior Project, whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. I donated today to represent how thankful I am for the sacrifices the Wounded Warriors have made. It was a smaller amount than I would have liked to give, but then again I don’t think there is anything I can do that would be big enough to match the gift they’ve given us.
ETA 11/11/15: This year I’m giving to Snowball Express, a Texas-based organization that supports children who have lost a parent while serving in our Armed Forces. Please feel free to add your favorite charity that supports our veterans and their families in the comments.