Veterans Day Reminds Us to Say Thank You

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Freedom is not free. We have all heard that many times, but this truth cannot be stated enough. All of the freedoms we enjoy today came at a cost. And all of the freedoms we enjoy were given to us because brave men and women chose to fight for and protect our country.

We celebrate Veterans Day on November 11 because on that day in 1918, fighting on the Western Front after World War I ceased. In remembrance of that day, people began to celebrate Armistice Day. It wasn’t until 1954, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill rededicating November 11 as Veterans Day, that we began to celebrate all veterans.

This Friday, we observe Veterans Day, but this Friday is also another special day in the lives of some of our military members. November 10 is the Marine Corps birthday. The Marine Corps turns 248 this year. November 10 is a day of jubilant celebration for Marines and their families. It’s a day to take pride in the sacrifices taken on by Marines and to thank them for their service.

I grew up outside of Quantico, Virginia, and my father gave 28 years of his life to the Marine Corps. He retired as a colonel, and there is not a day that goes by that I do not burst with pride when thinking about his service.

The military means the world to me, but truly this is how we should all feel when it comes to our country’s service members.

These men and women dedicate their lives to protecting our country, to guaranteeing our freedoms, and to keeping us safe. There aren’t many professions as important or as crucial as our military.

So as we approach Veterans Day and the Marine Corps birthday, let us take some time to reflect upon the gifts our servicemen and women have given us. And let us renew our appreciation for these gifts.

Military members need our support this weekend, but they also need it throughout the year.

This weekend, do something nice for a veteran you know. Take them out to dinner, buy them a treat, sit and chat with them, or simply say “Thank you for your service.”

If you don’t know a veteran, be on the lookout for someone in uniform. Approach them, shake their hand, tell them thank you and that you appreciate their sacrifices. If you have the means, buy them a meal or a cup of coffee.

Keep in mind that the families of service members make sacrifices too. They endure long months away from their loved ones. They often put up with strange hours. They deal with loneliness and they live with the fear that something could happen to their spouse or their father or their daughter. If you know a military family, ask what you can do to lighten the load for them. Maybe it’s helping with yardwork or fixing something in their house. Maybe it’s helping take care of the kids. Maybe it’s just being a friend and lending an ear during long deployments.

Those who join the military and serve do so out of selflessness and out of love, and they do so with a dedication we must not only admire but hold in the highest regard. So let us remember that freedom is not free, and let us thank those who are willing to give their all.

Byline Susan
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