What is the purpose of Veterans Day? “A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” *
One of the best ways to honor those who have served is to say “thank you” to them — and to their families — acknowledging awareness of their service and sacrifice on behalf of their nation.
I was raised in a patriotic home by parents whose reverence for and “allegiance to the flag of the United States” was founded in acknowledgement of all the souls who perished — from the Revolutionary War to the present — in paying the price for the freedoms that bless my life. (Most patriotic songs have brought tears to my eyes since I was old enough to understand their lyrics.)
As a widow, however, my appreciation for veterans has multiplied a hundred-fold. I have a better grasp of the fragility of the time we spend with (and away from) our loved ones. I’m grateful to those whose service cost them precious days away from home and whose service-related health issues continue exacting a price.
And now, because I know the pain of losing a spouse and have met many military widows (and a few military widowers), I view the sacrifices of the fallen in a more personal way than I did before.
THANK YOU, Veterans, for leaving home and hearth to serve your country. And thank you to the loved ones who wished you well as you did so.
*quoted from “History of Veterans Day,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp)