Day 11 – Giving thanks for those that serve and choose to sacrifice

To use day 11 (Veteran’s Day) of my Gratitude Blog for anything other than giving thanks to those that have served our country seems selfish. So today this space is dedicated to all of the heroes that have sacrificed their lives, their time away from their family and their friends and for those that return home injured and have to adjust to a new way of living.

I saw a news story this week about a soldier returning home and  how he surprised his daughter at school. When she told him that she had just taken her training wheels off her bike, he told her he looked forward to teaching her how to now ride the bike. Her innocent response; “I already learned, you missed it.” I was crushed for him. It’s just an example of the simple, day-to-day experiences that our service men and women miss out on. As they are a world away, someone else is teaching their daughters how to ride a bike and their sons how to throw a baseball. They miss so many rites of passage in their children’s lives. Although they hadn’t seen each other in 13 months, it was obvious that this little girl understood that Daddy was going to not be present for a lot of things. This is her normal.  Politically we could debate all day long whether or not the USA should really be fighting this war but in that moment, as I watched this reunion unfold on TV, it reminded me that we should not just thank our soldiers and military personnel for their sacrifice on the battle field, but also for choosing to sacrifice not to be present when the training wheels come off. Long after this war is over, it will be that moment that probably haunts the father the most. I obviously can’t give him that moment back but I can take the time to pause today to simply say thank you.

Because of their sacrifice, I am able to live in a country where a woman can start her own business, buy her own house, wear what she wants, cast her own vote and have her own thoughts and beliefs. I have profound gratitude for this opportunity.