Veteran's Day is More Than a Day Off Work

Veteran's Day holds a special place in my heart. I make a point to spend time each Veteran's Day reflecting on the sacrifices our troops and their families make to ensure our nation's safety and honor. 

My heart goes out to our military families. The sacrifices they make are not lost on me. These families endures months on end of separation from their loved ones with only minimal contact to alleviate the constant worry that coincides with deployments.

Milestones, such as births and anniversaries, are missed and yet forgiven year after year. Military spouses, both male and female, serve our country as single parents more often than they like to let on, and that is no small feat. 

Home front stressors don't disappear when vets leave for war, but still complaints aren't what I usually hear when I speak to military families. The first thing these unsung heroes often say is that they miss their loved ones and can't wait for them to come home. The next thing they usually volunteer is a number. The number of days left until they can hug their loved one again. The number of days until that person is home safe, and the constant worry will subside.

Why do vets do it? From my experience, this isn't an easy question for most service members to answer. I've often heard the reason described as a call to service or a very strong love for what they do. Whether the reason can be articulated properly or not is not of importance. One can see it in a vet's mannerisms. 

I've found that most vets demeanor's change when they talk about their service. The wistful look is them remembering a funny thing that happened with a bunch of other vets. The smile is from a really good day when an important mission was successful. Sometimes there's a tear, and that's for a friend that didn't make it home. On rare occasion, there's a pregnant stare, and that's from a wound that is still trying to heal.   

There are few jobs out there that have this level of impact on one's life. Military service isn't a job by any stretch, but I wouldn't call it a lifestyle either. It's a life all on its own, which helps one understand why people do it. But there's more than that to know, and there's no better day than today to get a closer glimpse at what military service is about.

Taking a moment to learn more about the Armed Forces doesn't have to mean reading a long history book, if that's not your style. The videos I've posted below are not only informative, but also moving. By the time you finish your first cup of coffee, you can have a bigger picture of why our nation's vets are being honored without feeling like you just sat through a history lesson. 

Today is more than just a day off work, and for many vets, today is yet another day with their lives on the line. Don't forget to thank a vet and his or her family members today, and to wish the USMC a very happy birthday. 

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