How Do You Thank A Veteran?


How Do You Thank A Veteran?

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Our most precious assets, as a country, are by far our soldiers in uniform and our veterans that sacrificed a portion of their lives, or worse their entire life for our freedoms.  The world can be ugly and I become discouraged when I witness what we are willing to do to one another.

I witnessed the depths of the potential for human destruction while deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina and experienced the extent of the brutalities of genocide and the lasting affect it can have on humanity.  Fortunately for us and our society, we are continually blessed with a long line of Americans that are willing to pledge their oath to our constitution and defend our way of life from our enemies both foreign and domestic.

There are forces in this world that hates the very fabric of our existence as a country.  These enemies would do anything to bring us to our knees and destroy our way of life; however, our nation’s sons and daughters stand tall and proud between us and those that aim to hurt us.  With unwavering courage and a bravery that I cannot put into words, our fellow Americans in arms stand guard and protect our liberties.

Our freedom comes with a cost.  Our liberties must be paid for in full by a select group of volunteers that are willing to give their lives so that we may go on living a life that we are accustomed to living.  How do we even began to thank our soldiers and veterans for this unwavering freedom?

I had the pleasure to hear LTC (ret) Rob “Waldo” Waldman, a former Air Force fighter pilot, speak on this very subject.  He said something that impacted me and changed my paradigm on this subject.  He said, “If you truly want to thank a soldier, then be an American worth fighting for.”

It was a simple, yet profound statement.  “Be an American worth fighting for.”  Wow, that makes sense but how?  I pondered this question and decided on seven ways that we can be Americans worth fighting for, here is my list:

  1. Know our history. Don’t be ignorant of our past and be willing to learn and appreciate where we came from as a country.  It’s hard to appreciate our country unless we fully understand our roots.
  1. Stay engaged. We must continually fight and strive to make our country a better place for all our citizens to live and thrive.  We must make our homeland a comforting place for our soldiers to come back to.  This means staying abreast of the current issues and voting and advocating for what we believe to be right.  We will disagree at times as a people, but every citizen has an obligation to stay engaged and contribute.
  1. Obey the laws of the land and be good citizens.
  1. Work hard. Everyone has strengths and skills that contribute to the greater good of our society.  Be the person that increases the resources in your community, not depletes it.
  1. Be grateful. Spend time outside of our borders and you will soon discover that we are blessed as a nation.  We must never lose sight of our blessings and must remain grateful for what we have as a country.
  1. Sacrifice. You don’t need to be a soldier to sacrifice.  Sacrifice your time and volunteer at a local community not-for-profit.  Invest in a good charitable organization that could use your hard earned money for good.  Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone and requires you to give up something that will have a lasting impact on your community.
  1. Be respectful. We are a people that come from a multitude of backgrounds and beliefs.  This is a blessing for it allows our nation to be a comforting home to so many.  In order to thrive, we must respect one another.  Our soldiers fight and defend our freedom to express ourselves, so we should show one another grace in that effort.  I may not agree with your beliefs, but I can respect and honor you as a human being.  Honor one another.

Freedom is not guaranteed.  It requires a willingness to sacrifice and fortunately there are so many that are willing to put on the uniform and defend what previous generations built for us.  Let us be thankful for the men and women in uniform that are protecting our homeland, but we must not rest and take it for granted.  We must make the most of our days and be Americans worth fighting for.  How about you, what will you do today to honor the soldiers that fight for you?

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