Category: Veteran's Day
Each day I go about my life, it is fairly similar. I work, hike or snowboard- sometimes both, play with my rescue dog, hang out with the love of my life, eat something yummy and locally sourced, take a clean hot shower, cuddle up in my bed to rest 8 hours and rise again the next day. Rarely do I think about the reason that I am able to do these things. Occasionally when the price of gas is astronomical, I might wonder what is going on oversees to cause the escalation. Or if I catch Bill Maher and there is a segment on the military, I generally pause to send a few prayers over to our men and women. To be honest, I tend to push all these “unpleasant things” to the back of my mind, and live in my little Jackson bubble.
Scrolling through my FaceBook over breakfast this morning I came across a post from my Aunt, she is the proud mother of an Air Force Academy graduate and USAF pilot. The quote struck me as I believe it was meant to, especially on this day,
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” George Orwell.
I am one of those peacefully sleeping people, and I am not nearly as thankful as I should be. I take for granted this “American Dream,” I am so blessed to live. Just as easily I could have been born in other place or another time, and my life would not be so easy. I cannot imagine rising each morning “ready to do violence.”
My cousin, is just one of many who have and are currently serving both in my family and in my life. I am proud to say that my Great-Grandfather was one of the few pure-blood Hohokam Native American men to serve in the Navy during World War Two. His son, my Great Uncle Michael, was a Drill Sargent during both Korea and Vietnam. He was brutal to his men during Basic, but had the highest number of returnees due to their strenuous training at Camp LeJeune. One of my best friends dropped out of college sophomore year, forgoing his full ride soccer scholarship to stand amongst fellow Marines in the War on Terror.Each one of these men, and so many others like them have given up their everyday freedoms, in order to protect and defend the activities I daily take for granted- to watch football, see loved ones, sleep in comfortable beds, eat delicious meals... the list is never-ending.
What is worse, not one of these men has returned unscathed. Each one has seen and done things I could not fathom or even begin to handle, nor would I ever wish anyone ever have to. Every serviceman gives enormous parts of themselves that they will never get back, and they do it for people they will never know. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, or some combination, these men and women are forever changed. They will always be soldiers.
A very good friend recently completed three terms as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan. Three times, breath was bated as his return was anticipated. He does not talk about his time in the Middle East. By glance you would never know he was a seasoned soldier, he appears more as a nerdy oversized teddy bear. The summer of 2011 he married the girl of his dreams, this fall he quit is desk job in finance because he just can’t sit. His plan is join the police force, to resume his ability to daily protect and serve, to handle the situations other just can’t. Nothing could be like Iraq or Afghanistan. There is nothing he couldn’t fight through. I will never be able to express the depth my thanks should be to this man and all the others, for how they have changed and all they have given up for me.
Today I will offer my thanks that I am able to live my life in bubble, to not think on things that are appalling, terrifying and deadly. I offer my thanks to every single brave man, woman, and in some horrifying instances- child who rose up ready to do violence. Tomorrow I will work, hike, play with my rescue dog, hang out with the love of my life, eat something yummy and locally sourced, take a clean hot shower, cuddle up in my bed to rest 8 hours and rise again the next day, because these soldiers allow me the freedom to do so.