5 Reasons to Thank a Veteran

veteran's day1When you thank a veteran, do you know exactly what you are thanking them for? I’ll be honest, as an active duty service member I wasn’t quite sure what “thank you” meant myself. I’d hear it, and I’d appreciate the person who said it, yet I didn’t know how much they were really thanking me for until I got out of the military.

When you’re surrounded everyday by service members, it’s hard to recognize the qualities they have that make our country so proud. As we celebrate our active duty and veterans on Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share some of the reasons why thanking them for their service is so important.

Five Reasons to Thank a Veteran

1. Work Ethic and Dedication

Being in the military means you’re part of a team accomplishing something much bigger than you. Our service men and women understand that and are dedicated to making sure they give their absolute all to the cause. There’s no such thing as overtime, being in the “service” means you serve. These individuals take this to heart each and every day.

2. Comradery

By definition this means spirit and goodwill of fellowship.  I used to listen to retired military people tell me how much they missed that comradery when they got out, but I didn’t appreciate it until I did. It’s knowing that person next to you has your back, no matter what. Most of my closest friends are people I served with. There is a bond between us that’s unbreakable, and I’d walk through fire for any of them.

3. Honor and Integrity

Honor and Integrity are demonstrated as a norm; a standard set to be exceeded with all that is asked of them.  These are not just values or traits, these words are who our military is.

4. Sacrifice

The working long hours, deploying overseas and being away from loved ones, getting back and deploying again, putting themselves in harm’s way, and even losing a comrade.  All of these are incredible things to ask of a person, yet I think even more incredible is the sacrifice of themselves. Each and every deployment requires a service member to leave a piece of themselves on the battlefield, and often it’s their innocence.  War is something that changes us forever. These men and women go back into this environment over and over again for the good of our country, carrying with them the remnants of war for the rest of their lives.

5. Their Untold Story 

To me, this is one of the most important things to thank them for.  Military service brings moments into our lives that are the absolute most challenging; testing mental, physical, and spiritual strength. The things our service members go through make us proud, but often can break our hearts. Most veterans don’t say a whole lot about their experiences, yet if we knew even half of what they’ve done or been through, we would see things differently.

One thing I’ve realized since I became a veteran is that our service to the military may have ended, but our responsibility to be a veteran never stops. We continue to represent our nation every day for the rest of our lives.  We have a rare opportunity to share our experiences with others and continue to be a mentor.  The list above is just a few of the things we are thankful for in our military veterans. I can say personally, I’m so humbled to have kept company with such honorable people.

I always ask a question at the end, but this is one I hope you take a minute out of your day to answer as we pay tribute to our men and women who served.

How has a veteran changed your life?

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