To the men and women of our armed forces,
Thank you. Past, present and future members of our military, I offer the most sincere thank you.
To the parents who listened with worried hearts as their child told them they chose a career in the military. The parents that look at their soldier with an abundance of pride and hushed worry and fear. To the families that spend night and day wondering and worrying and, most difficult at times, expressing endless support for a job they often don’t believe is worth the sacrifices.
U.S. Army Sergeant Aaron Brewster is welcomed home by his parents during a ceremony in Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Thank you to the spouses of those on deployment. The parents that do it all. That handle all the tears, soccer practices, holidays, shopping, cleaning and milestones by themselves. The moms and dads who remember every detail of these special moments because their ability to paint the vivid picture for their partner matters more than the world will ever understand. The parents that depend on Skype, emails and wifi to remain close to those they love hundreds of thousands of miles away.
A special thank you to the spouses who put their lives on hold to support their husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend on this journey. It is almost never quick. Years pass and dreams dissolve, resentment knocks on the door of your relationship and it isn’t easy. Thank you for the sacrifices you make in fully supporting the men and women of this great country.
A soldier comforts his sweetheart while saying goodbye at by Pennsylvania Station by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1944
A most sincere thank you to our veterans. Thank you for your service, for your dedication to this country. Thank you for serving in a during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan when sometimes serving wasn’t a choice, it was a requirement. Thank you for fighting wars you might not have agreed with for reasons you might not have understood. Thank you for setting an example for those to follow, for sharing your stories and your wisdom.
Pearl Harbor Survivor Houston James of Dallas is overcome with emotion as he embraces Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr. in 2005.
Thank you to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to this country and given their lives. You did not die in vain, you will never be forgotten. As is often said, freedom isn’t free. Your lives have been given to keep this country a free nation, to allow Americans to say what they want, to believe in their God and to be a part of their government. You’ve given your life for your brothers and sisters next to you on the front lines, you’ve saved lives and you’ve made it possible for parents to return to their children, even if you were not able to go home to your own. You are heros, you are angels and we are honored to be part of this country because of you.
Ronald Phillips, who died in Iraq of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an IED in Iraq.
Thank you to all of our active duty service members that deploy for six to nine long months at a time. The men and women that celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving thousands of miles away from their families, probably more than once or twice during their time in the service. The men and women who most likely have letters saved on their computers to each person they love, only to be read if something were to happen. The men and women who pray that they don’t lose the closeness with their children and families because of the distance. To those who have lost many and seen unspeakable things and work every day to keep this country safe, to keep the battles off American soil, thank you.
Thank you to the love that knows distance. The love that endures the often inevitable changes that this job imposes on the people who enlist. The love that inspires us to get to know the new version of that person, to love them unconditionally. The love that reminds us these men and women are working for something so much bigger than us, the love that gives these service members room to be who they want to be, to live the life of the military.
Happy 4th of July!