Today on Veterans Day, we observe the love for country and bravery of our veterans.
I have watched over the past few years the movement to pay tribute to our soldiers and thank them for their service.
On so many levels, the word “service” misses the very heart of what our brave men and women have given to our country. Please do not thank a veteran for his or her service. But rather, thank that person for his or her sacrifice.
For they have given more than we can ever know.
The popular slogan, “Some gave all; all gave some,” does not even touch the surface of what “some” means.
No soldier comes home “whole.” No one whoever goes to war comes home unscathed mentally, emotionally or physically; they are changed forever by a trauma that we cannot ever comprehend.
There are years of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, constant nightmares, inability to return to former lives because of self-loathing and survivor guilt.
The effort to try to appear normal and unscathed all builds up inside until it seeps out.
This false front creates a disharmony that ruins marriages, families, jobs, relationships and friendships.
Those of us who have not been there cannot know their sense of loss when having to part from comrades with whom they have fought, worked, faced danger and stared down death.
I have experienced this firsthand with the love of my life and along with countless others, have walked the aftermath of this path and know the cost of “service.”
Our heroes have not “served” but sacrificed, and they have sacrificed a huge piece of their souls.
So today when we stand at cemeteries and memorial sites, let us remember the cost to the brave men and women who have given their lives, the cost that has given us freedoms we sometimes take for granted.
Please take an extra moment today to honor those who are still at war in their daily lives, struggling to overcome the fallout of their sacrifice, and those who suffer through physical and mental pain every waking moment.
Pray for them and their loved ones that they may find healing and resolve and know that their time protecting us had meaning.