When I was in college, I applied to join ROTC to help pay for my tuition. I didn’t really think about my commitment or what I might be called to do. I was in very good shape, loved a challenge, and was in major debt. As it turned out, I developed health issues about the same time, so wasn’t accepted.
I have often wondered how my life would have been different had I joined the military. Then I wonder if I would have had what it took to defend my country. I think of it like defending my children and family no matter what the risk. For someone in the military, it’s like everyone in the United States is a part of their family, and they would give their life to defend them. So many do, and I am grateful for everyone who has served in the military to keep me and my family safe.
I worry about how soldiers survive their experiences in war. How the trauma of what they are called to do permanently affects them. How it changes them and their families. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, every 65 minutes a veteran commits suicide. I can’t begin to understand what a soldier has gone through, but my heart breaks for everyone who is affected and for the lives taken too soon.
Our military deserves financial and emotional support so that their families are taken care of when they are overseas, and that when they come home from protecting their country, they receive the emotional support they need. Our military protects our way of life and should be honored, protected, and taken care of at home as they do for us.
So today especially on Veterans Day, I thank everyone who has ever been in the military, served in a war, died for our country, and has protected our way of life. I am free, because you are brave, strong, and courageous. I am proud to be an American.