Men and women for over 238 years have lived and died to give me the ability to have a public blog where I can share my life, my dreams, my aggravations, my political viewpoint and my opinion about which salad dressing I love the most. As silly as that may seem, that right, that ability is something someone died for.
I am grateful for that sacrifice. I am humbled by its necessity. I am saddened by its sheer number of lives lost.
This weekend I will have sunned at the pool, eaten whatever I wanted, listened to my favorite music, read magazines with public opinion, watched television that showcases more than one political view, laughed with my family, enjoyed my dogs and lived in a house of my choosing. All because of sacrifice - not mine, but sacrifice of people unknown to me. They gave their life so that I could have mine.
I have had military scattered throughout my family. My oldest brother was Air Force and still serves with the Guard. He often has to leave for sporadic periods of time and most recently did a year in Cuba. He is a man of simple pleasures - he loves to fish, to hunt, to eat, to come home to his two newest granddaughters and to relax with family. He has traveled the world, seeing other countries, seeing people who do not have the luxuries we have, knowing that his life - this dedication he chose - continues to allow his family to enjoy the meaning of freedom. He does not agree with everything our government decides to do, but it is because of the sacrifices before him, the sacrifices he has witnessed and those yet to come that he is able to disagree as openly as he chooses, why he continues to do his duty and how I will never fully grasp the things he has seen or endured. He has lost friends - no he has lost family - to the cause to keep us free and he still goes when asked, still performs when needed, still rallies for a country that often forgets who to thank and who to recognize for providing the liberty we all enjoy.
I cannot thank him enough. He is my brother, he is my hero and he is a soldier who sleeps on a hard ground, who endued sand covered months in the Middle East, sat on the shores of our enemy in Cuba, has trained in Germany, worked on our borders with Mexico, and watched as those he loves paid the ultimate price for him, for me, for those yet to be born.
My life is better because someone else decided to risk their own.
My dreams can be reached because someone decided that their dream is to allow me to discover mine.
My ideas can be voiced because someone else fought and their voice was silenced.
My courage to write these words pales in comparison to the courage they showed on the battlefield.
My sacrifices seem great to me but only because the ultimate price has been paid by those with the foresight to believe that there is something greater, something unique, something worth dying for that may not yet have reached the surface, but their belief, their honor, their love for the 'could be' allows us to be unconditionally grateful to their cause.
I am honored to be an American.
I am blessed to be free.
I am grateful to those who died for me.
I am humbled by their unselfishness.
I am moved by their determination.
I am stunned by their dedication.
I am sorry for their family's loss.
To the many veterans who walk this world: Thank you. Thank you for doing a job that is often thankless, for continuing to believe in a country that often doesn't get it "right" but continues to search for the best possible path. This day we celebrate the lives of the brothers and sisters you lost, we lost, this country lost in order to freely continue to be the greatest country on earth. Even with our problems, people still flock to be here, the American dream may shift but we still get to achieve it and as I watch certain political decisions be made I don't lose faith...because as long as there are people who believe in what we stand for; "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"; then sacrifices will be made and sacrifices will be honored.
Thank you: to the families of those lost, your courage is not unnoticed and the sacrifices of the loved ones you have lost is appreciated by many. It is our duty to continue to work towards the freedom they died for and to honor them daily.