This Wednesday we celebrate Veteran’s Day. Every year on November 11th, we honor people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is a great reminder to take the time to appreciate and thank a veteran for his or her service to our great country. Serving in the military is arguably one of the most selfless and honorable decisions a person can make. However, when someone chooses to serve, he or she is not the only ones serving once enlisted. Many people forget that for every soldier who serves his or her country, there is a family left behind who is also serving in a different way, especially during times of war.
My brother, Jonathan, enlisted in the National Guard at the age of 18. He figured he would serve his country and gain some experience which would help him develop a career path. He enlisted 3 years before 9/11. This was a time when Iraq and Afghanistan were places on a map that none of us paid much attention to and we were all blissfully unaware of the Al Qaeda.
Once the tragedy of September 11th occurred, my family knew his call was coming. With every troop that was deployed, we understood that his time on the U.S. soil was running short. Once an additional war on Iraq was declared, our luck was up. As expected, my brother was deployed to Iraq to be a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in Iraq from 2002-2003. This was, without a doubt, the longest year in my family’s history.
Obviously, Iraq was a war zone, so we would go days, sometimes even weeks, without hearing from Jonathan. When he could call, communication was short so whoever was lucky enough to receive the phone call would quickly inform the rest of the family that Jon was okay. Each call provided a huge sigh of relief confirming that at least for the time being, he was still okay. Finally, in September of 2003, Jonathan returned home.
Luckily for my family, he only served one tour. God bless those families whose loved ones do more than one tour, including our own commercial service representative, Micki Veerman. Her son, Matthew, served a tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan as well as several other missions during catastrophic events such as the earthquake in Haiti.
So this Veteran’s Day, be sure to thank a Veteran for his or her service and then thank the family too…a mom or dad, spouse, or children. After all, they serve every day too. God Bless America!
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