As I prepare for Veterans Day this year, my heart is a little heavy. I have always been a huge supporter of the holiday and I truly believe in its meaning but there has always been a piece of me that has always felt a little snubbed. No I haven’t served and I am not a veteran but my dad served twenty plus years in the Navy making me a Navy brat. Since I was an infant the Navy life was all I knew. At just two months old I was already on the move. Wrapped in my baby blanket, nestled in my mother’s arms, I was aboard my first plane on my way to Guam. From that moment on I could sleep anywhere and my family was always on the move. I was not in the Navy but my family and I were a part of it, whether we wanted to be or not.
Veterans Day is a day to thank our veterans and to remember those who bravely served and the many that lost their lives or have come home broken. I absolutely support this day of honor one hundred percent. I just think that we, as a country should give the families of those brave soldiers the appreciation they so rightly deserve. The families may not be on the front lines but they are the backbones of the men and women that are. They sacrifice their lives for their service member, put up with all the moves, new schools, and base housing, and making new friends. Not to mention the raising of children alone when their spouse is deployed and they take on the role of both parents. Dealing with the what ifs and the uncertainty of whether or not their spouse will return safely. Families deal with the brunt of all the bad baggage that comes with being in a military family. This is not to say that we should take any focus on this day away from the veterans. They have sacrificed and given up their lives to serve our country and they deserve the utmost respect and glory for all they have done. Let us not just celebrate and honor them on this one day, let us carry it out throughout the year.
Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change being a Navy brat for anything, and I am so proud of my father for what he sacrificed for me, my family and our country, but I always feel like one of the forgotten. On Veterans Day we bestow well-earned recognition and honor all of those who have sworn to “Support and Defend” and we can never give enough thanks to those that protect us. I must say I have seen a boost in recognition for military families, especially in the past couple of years, but in my opinion, it still isn’t enough. I will never forget the empty feeling in my stomach as I watched my dad deploy once again, my heart seemed to drop and it never completely retracted back into place until his homecoming. As a child, watching my mother struggle with the absence of our service member, deal with movers, bills, and raising my brother and me, while still putting on a brave face was hard. It didn’t matter how many emails or phone calls (which were very rare back when my dad was deployed on the USS Harry Truman) we were still never fully assured that he would come back, anything could happen and at a young age I was taught to deal with that reality.
So as you reflect on this Veterans Day I urge you to think of not only those who have served but of the brave families that in a way serve right beside them, faded in the background as they may be or feel, they are there keeping our brave soldiers a float. Let’s not take away the significance of this day though. Thank a veteran for his or her sacrifice; they truly deserve all the recognition in the world. Happy Veterans Day to all veterans and their families, I am truly grateful for your service and you are never forgotten.
- Thanks to my Guest Contributor, Teresa