There is a strong military tradition in my family. Both of my biological grandfathers were veterans; Grandpa Rivard served in the Army during World War II. Grandpa Prairie was a West Point bugler of high esteem. He played taps at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s funeral. My grandma’s second husband, Papa Bruce, also served in the Navy on a battleship. My Uncle Dale did a stint in the military. Finally, there’s my brother. He served the U.S. Navy for 8 years, and just recently started his civilian adventure, post-military. Andy was a SEABEE, part of the naval Construction Battalion. He did one deployment in Iraq, leaving his wife and young daughter to serve our country in faraway placed. He built facilities for military use in the Middle East; bathrooms, kitchens, barracks. His presence there made life better for other military personnel during their long, hot stays in the desert.
Patriotism was a strong part of my upbringing. We were grateful to have the opportunities that living her presented. My father was an American, through and through, and he made sure that pride and appreciation was well-nurtured in all four of his children.
All of that is possible thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of our military across the years of this nation’s existence. They take risks some of us would never imagine to subject ourselves to. They spend long stretches away from their loved ones to do the jobs that no one else wants to do. They get paid peanuts by a government who needs them, but doesn’t appreciate them. The simple fact is, military life is hard, and millions do it every day to stand for their beliefs in support of the country they love.
They’ve been doing it since the advent of the United States. 235 years of devoted men and women, taking charge of our country’s defense as well as the defense of the ideals we stand for. That’s a pretty good run, if you ask me.
And today, I ask that everyone remembers these people. I ask that you remember veterans who did not come home from the battles they fought. I ask that you devote some time to reflection today. I also ask that you not only remember the military men and women, but the families who made sacrifices to support them. The wives, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends who surround them, are a big part of what keeps our military strong and sane.