You hear that a lot growing up in the military. That this is about something bigger than your parents, bigger than yourself. Not seeing your family becomes the norm and family members become more of an idea than an actual person to those of us that were young when our parents went away. I was lucky in that they've always come back but I remember seeing kids at school while growing up on the bases that didn't have that luxury.
The military is something special, something completely unique that becomes so much more than just a job. These people give up so much, many of them barely out of high school when they sign up to serve. They miss birthday parties, time with families, going out with friends, movies, music, and a thousand other things that people don't think about when you're shut off from the outside world.
And that's not even including if the person is a parent. Consider missed birthdays, first steps, first days of school, prom, first words. These are all milestones in life that matter immensely and that these people willingly give up so that the rest of America can enjoy the freedoms and protections that come from their sacrifice.
So if you've served, thank you. Thank you for giving up so much, for sacrificing your health, your well being, your relationships, your time with your family, your comfort- all to give the rest of us more peace. It takes a lot to be a veteran and you don't hear it nearly often enough so THANK YOU.