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Friday, November 11, 2016

A Sacrifice for Strangers

Never in the history of the world 
has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom 
and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier.  
~Zell Miller 

I didn't grow up in a military family and didn't really have friends who did. To this 1980s child, war was a thing that happened far away and in the movies. I had a soldier pen pal in 2nd grade who flew bombers over the Middle East. I wrote a few letters and sent a few care packages to soldiers serving overseas post 9/11. For the most part though, a soldier's sacrifice is hard to wrap my brain around and warfare is something that happens far far away. 

Today I want to say thank you to the soldiers I have known. Both of my grandfathers - who served overseas in World War II and the Korean War. Thank you for leaving your families and the comfort of the known to defend the defenseless and offer your strength to those in need of it. 

To my amazing in-laws Bill and Debbie who served for many many years and sacrificed time with their young children and the stability of living in one place in order to proudly serve in the Air Force both here and abroad, thank you so much. The values you passed along to my husband, so many of which were demonstrated through your service in the military have been and will continue to be a great blessing to our family. 

And to all the military wives I have the privilege to know - I see you patiently enduring the home front. Getting the kids off to school by yourself, finding a friend to cover for "Donuts with Dad", Skyping late at night and early in the morning so your husbands can connect with your kids. You are the cornerstone of your family during these years...thank you for a sacrifice that so often goes unnoticed. 

It is something I think about far too little but am truly grateful for - to have never known war in my hometown because of soldiers willing to fight thousands of miles from theirs. Thank you for giving up holidays at home, higher paying jobs, comfortable beds, the security of the First World, your children's birthdays and a thousand other things only you will ever know you sacrificed. 

Thank you for your courage, your honor and your selflessness. Happy Veteran's Day.

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