November 11, 2018 - Joe Rodgers
All of you know that today is Veterans Day observance. But, how many of you are aware that America has been at war for 223 of the 239 years since 1776? That equates to 93% of the years the United States has existed. How many of you know that less than 1% or 19.6 million of our nation's population has served in the Armed Forces? I wasn't aware of that last statistic until I started doing research for this article.
What we should all know is Veterans Day is unlike Memorial Day in that today is a time to thank everyone who has ever put on the uniform. Today is not reserved solely for those that gave their lives for our county, but rather for every soldier that served and sacrificed in some manner, shape, or form. Currently, many of our soldiers have been called upon to serve multiple deployments over the past decade. Fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, are often separated from their families and sent into harm's way. They are summoned to leave their loved ones behind, while entrusting others to take care of the family. Far too often, these soldiers are required to take a leave-of-absence from their good paying jobs, only to endure a drastic cut in pay while serving overseas. Many active soldiers, when they leave the military, will face not having a job, not knowing what their future holds. I mention this because it is the soldier's reality. It is a big part of what they fear.
Today, we set aside a few minutes, to think about the extent to which these patriots sacrifice for county, for us. It is nice when we see a soldier in uniform that we take the time to say; "Thank you for your Service." I'm sure when we utter those words, we sincerely mean them. But, is it enough? In our hearts, we know the answer. Veterans are appreciative when they hear our kind words; however, they would rather have us focus on their needs. They need us to do what we can to improve their access to jobs and health care. They want us to volunteer our time at Veteran's Affairs facilities. They want us to make charitable donations to organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project, the Pat Tillman Foundation or other worthy endeavors. Most of all, they want us to get to know them in a meaningful way.
God bless our troops