Was thinking about this yesterday and thought, "What does this day mean to me personally?" I have some distant relatives currently serving or who recently served in Air Force and in the medical service of those in battle.
But when I try to think about who has been closest to me that's been the most effected by the military it's my grandpa and my friend Andy.
My Grandpa was a stern man. He meant well, but expressed little. He had served in World War 2, was wounded in his leg and got a metal plate put in, and received a purple heart.
It's hard for me to fathom him being in the midst of a war with bombs going off and guns firing all around. It would scare me to death to be in that place -my hair would turn white overnight.
And yet he alongside many brave men fought and returned home to raise a family and carry on.
The other person I know is Andy. I met Andy back in 2011. He's a 50-something year old who's usually pretty funny. But he gave a speech once about his dad who served in the Vietnam War and died. From Andy I learned that the American Flag is sacred to some. It's not just a symbol for a nation -it has come to represent far more. The only thing you're left to cling to when you're father's life has passed.
So I ask myself what is really "sacrificed" by those in the military.
From what I've seem some lose their lives, but others lose themselves. They are lost to a hardened, rigid mindset that has trouble letting go of the past and tapping back into the peace within the soul. They lose sleep over haunting visions of terrors. They lose time genuinely connecting and reconnecting with those around them. They lose mental stability and sense of place.
It's hard for someone who's come to the brink of death knowingly -with the willingness to let go of this life entirely -to return back to civilian life and take up a job in a cubicle. That readjustment has been named as the greatest struggle by many.
So much is given.
And at the end of the day the worst that is taken is what is given to soldiers when they are ordered to kill and forced to take human life that's innocent. To kill a child. To bomb a hospital. To destroy the lives of families because they were told and those making the calls "got it wrong this time..." To place blood and the slaughter of civilians on the hands of those pledging their lives to fight an enemy -not families -is one of the gravest pieces of the soul taken by those who serve.
Wars weren't intended to be that caviler and careless. They can lead to the lives of soldiers and those who serve being taken, buy they can also lead to the lives of the innocent being ripped from this world as well.
So celebrate and honor the honorable. But never defend the deplorable. Treat the flag with respect -whatever it represents to you remember that for some it has become a sacred symbol that represents the lives of loved ones lost.
And if you genuinely seek to support the troops -donate to nonprofits and causes that take them in when they return home and seek to make them whole again. The wounds within are the hardest to heal and they harden souls that were intended to breath freely in this life.
And never support regimes and governments and systems and leaders and advocates and individuals who treat human life -both the lives of soldiers and the civilians of foreign countries - as if they had no value in this life and were entirely expendable without thought or consequence.