Happy Independence Day – and Thank You to our Military!

A Happy Independence Day to everyone — and a huge ‘thank you’ to our military for their service.

The United States is celebrating its birthday today. Despite our differences in opinions and beliefs, and there are many, we should all join together to do one thing — thank the members of our armed forces for their service.

Without the sacrifices of our soldiers and sailors, pilots and marines, our country could have fallen any time in the last 237 years. The United States might never have made it past the Declaration of Independence, or could have reverted back to the dominion of the British Empire during the War of 1812. We might have split into two nations as a result of the Civil War, or fallen to a horrible enemy during World War 2. Men, and now women, of our country have stood between us, and harm, in so many, many other conflicts.

We ask so much of these men and women who voluntarily serve in the military — not just that they defend us, but sometimes that they also defend other nations, other people, even the whole world. We have made mistakes over the years and centuries. Sometimes we backed the wrong side in a conflict, or made errors in strategy or planning our involvement in an action. We will undoubtedly make more, because we are only human.

But despite these mistakes, the disagreements in our society, the nasty infighting of our political leaders, even the sheer ingratitude and indifference we often display toward our military, in spite of the ever-increasing dangers of the world and the sometimes nebulous nature of the enemy threatening us, our men and women continue to enlist, selflessly offering up their health and sadly, sometimes their lives and sanity, to defend our country and to try and offer that freedom to others.

And in return, they don’t always get the thanks, or even the reward, they deserve for their time in the military. I keep seeing reports on the struggles of military families simply to survive when a father or mother is stationed in a combat zone, over and over and over again. Then that family member may come home permanently injured or mentally scarred to a country that isn’t prepared, or for that matter doesn’t even seem to want to try, to support the soldier in his or her recovery.

It’s easy, when we’re caught up in our daily routines, in the hurry to get to work and then come home to attend to our family, to forget about those people standing between us and harm. After all, few of us live near military bases, or have family serving in the military. We don’t see these soldiers or their families every day, and so it’s easy to forget them. Out of sight, out of mind.

But we should never forget them. And if there’s one thing on which we all should agree, it’s that we need to not only say thank you, but to ensure that these brave people have adequate support when they come home, that their families have a decent life, and that we never, ever, take their service for granted.

They are there, so that we don’t have to be.

Thank you.

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