Most Americans this past week have been laser-focused on the elections. Some are elated and some are angry. (I’m sure a few are apathetic.) Whatever you have been feeling, you know that there is a divide right now in our country.
Today I am calling for unity. Today is Veterans Day. Today we can join hands and hearts in celebrating those brave souls who make our country free. You don’t have to subscribe to a particular political ideal, religion, race, or occupation to celebrate our nation’s heroes. For that is what they are: men and women who pledged everything, including their lives, to protect and defend the United States of America and the Constitution.
My husband Mark has served in the U.S. Army for over seven years. Before that, he was a ROTC cadet for four years. And before that, he was a JROTC cadet in high school for three years. This means that he has been associated with military service for half his life, since he was 15 years old. The same goes for his identical twin brother Matt.
I have seen so many posts on Facebook today of friends displaying patriotism by thanking our veterans and posting pictures of those in their family who have served. It is a welcome respite from all the vitriol and political pandering we’ve seen this past election cycle. But if you want to go a step further this Veterans Day, ask a veteran in your life ABOUT their service. Don’t just thank them. What is missing in our country is a sense of community, of the tribe embracing our warriors after a hard-fought war. It’s therapeutic and healing for our combat vets to tell their story. My husband doesn’t speak often about combat, but when he does, I make sure to listen up. It gives me a deeper look into who he is as a veteran and as a human being.
So to Mark: thank you for sharing your life and some of your most difficult, painful moments with me. This year has been one for the history books, and I’m not talking about the election or the fact that the Cubs won the World Series. It’s been a big year in our own personal history, and I will write about it here in due time. Until then, I’m grateful for this military life and I look forward for what this coming year brings. You will always be my warrior.
God bless America and our veterans!!