When I think of this day, I think of the behind the scenes, the military families, the ceremonies and sacrifice that no one sees. It is about the men and women who chose to rise to the occasion, some died for their country, some are still rising. Heroic, noble moments that are never mentioned in the news, but exist. I'll share some moments: I remember riding a military bus, we only had one vehicle and I lived in Anchorage, Alaska. I was getting cabin fever pretty bad. My son was 3 at the time; We decided to ride the base bus to the library and NEX(Navy Exchange). The radio was on and we heard the Gulf War had broke out. I was sitting with mainly active duty young men and women, who were shocked by the news. "I am going to go" convo was all over the bus. One man, tried to distract my son(and himself) and started talking to us, about normal things in life. When our bus stop came, I told him to take care and he said, he was going to go. I felt scared for those that would go to battle. I remember before I had children, my husband had duty in Adak, Alaska; I was to fly out in 3 months after him. I remember flying from Maine to Anchorage and then Adak. When I was getting off the plane, I saw a grown man in uniform, crying. I found out later he was getting off at Shima, supposedly this island was called the end of the earth. When we were in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, we were invited to a party on the "Mighty Mo" this is the USS Missouri, a battle ship involved battle during, Pearl Harbor. It really opens your eyes, when you see pieces of history. I have seen many marriages not survive the separation. I have seen injured people come back. Honor and pride in an extended family; blood doesn't bond, but shared experiences do. Active duty, retired and deceased are honored today in parades, discounts at stores and perhaps a meal or a mention on the TV.
My husband n' I last month went to the Khaki Ball. It is a night to honor the men and women, who have advanced to Chief. They have an exam to pass, a review board(must be selected), training for months and then an initiation ceremony(think of the show Survivor). This night is to recognize them and celebrate crossing over. It isn't a formal gown event, but all Chiefs in their Khaki's, oldest and youngest in the room being honored, as well as everyone else.
It is appropriate, Veteran's Day is in November, the month of Thanksgiving! The gift of Freedom, can't be measured, but it can be felt! When you see someone in uniform, thank them for their service. As we were arriving to the Ball, A woman in the elevator thanked my husband! It was an act of kindness,that really speaks volumes~