May We Never Forget

Veteran, Kevin Jackson, WWII

“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world. A Veteran doesn’t have that problem.”

The late, great Ronald Reagan said that. And I am reminded of it every May, as military appreciation month rolls around.  Perhaps because I grew up knowing the value of a veteran.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, a young twenty-year-old went to the recruiting office where he said: “ the lines to enlist were four blocks long.” As Hitler’s forces advanced and the atrocities were compounding, so many of these young boys that grew up on farms in the midwest, and throughout the U.S., felt they had a “moral obligation” to join and fight.

A moral obligation…that’s called patriotism.

That young patriot was my father. He enlisted in the Army and trained to be a B-17 Bomber
pilot, stationed in Foggia, Italy. He re-enlisted for the Korean War and then worked for the
Joint Chiefs of Staff. But he was not alone. There are millions of stories like my father, and those that came before him, and those after. That’s the thing about patriots – they inherently believe it’s a moral obligation to defend our country. They answer the call of duty, knowing the personal risks – and they do it anyway.

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Our servicemen and women pledge to protect us every day, and they do it from all over the
world. Their obligation to uphold the legacy of American freedoms and to keep our country
safe is a selfless and heroic act. And for most of us, we rarely truly contemplate the sacrifice until something like Military Appreciation Month pops up on the calendar.

Of course, there are several holidays designated for us to show our gratitude for all that our military Veterans and their families put on the line for us. Every branch is acknowledged, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Space Force, and the
National Guard. But this year, as these holidays pass by us, let’s take a little more time to honor our veterans. Even if just by an extra prayer- because now, more than ever, our freedom is at risk.

Protect & Serve

Our combined forces span the globe as they serve to honor and protect our great nation.
In 1999, May was designated to officially acknowledge all our Veterans and their families.
Memorial Day, Armed Services Day, Loyalty Day, VE Day (Victory in Europe), Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and yes, Mother’s Day are a collective opportunity for us to show our gratitude for those that have served, past and present.

It’s sobering to consider the magnitude of the gifts our servicemen and women have made,
generation after generation ensuring our safety and the freedoms we enjoy. When our military goes to war, so do their families that are left behind. These families carry the burden of both war and loss. Spouses and children endure the struggles of their fallen family members. These families deserve our respect and acknowledgment too. Especially considering the fact that our next war might be right here, on our own soil. And it might be coming sooner than you think.

There is power in the Red, White, and Blue.

Every Veteran knows this intrinsically – it’s what drives them. But freedom isn’t free. Freedom always comes at a cost. No one knows this better than our military and their families. Inscribed above the chapel doors of the U.S. Naval Academy is the Latin phrase:
Non sibi sed patriae – Not for self, but for country.

Every branch of our military shares this core belief. They have different mottos, but the
essence of their creeds are the same, shared values. When we talk about our military, we often hear words like honor, sacrifice, duty, vigilance, courage, patriotic, pride, legacy, truth, valor, and selflessness.

These words conjure up what true bravery looks like, what true patriotism is, and what a call to duty means. These words describe every service member that has ever been called to defend our great nation. Military Appreciation Month dedicates this time for us to thank our Veterans for the significance of their service. It’s for all the tangible contributions that so many have given so that we can live.

We must never forget the significance of their duty, their sense of obligation
to keep America free, to keep us safe, and to be forever protected. These patriots are our fathers, our mothers, our sisters, and brothers. They are our sons and daughters, our neighbors, and our neighbor’s children. They are our nieces and nephews. These patriots are everyman. And yet, they possess something a lot of us don’t. Their ability to lay it all on the line.

We’ve lost our values.

It’s sad to see that we’ve lost our values. The same threat to freedom we’ve fought against for almost 250 years is rearing its ugly head. And yes, I’m talking about what is happening in America right now.

We are being fed socialism in the form of stimulus checks. We are being denied freedom in the form of mask mandates and vaccination demands. And we are being locked down, held prisoner of a virus that attacks one percent of us.

Our gasoline is skyrocketing. Our president’s only plan is to pass out one freebie after the next. Student loan forgiveness, inflated minimum wages, it’s all a scam. But we don’t have lines four blocks long to defend us against the common enemy. Is it because that enemy stands beside us?

But here’s the thing. When we stand back and let freedom die, we don’t just dishonor our own generation. We are discrediting every sacrifice made to uphold freedom from 1776 until today. Instead, we can never forget. We can never ignore the sacrifices they’ve made, nor the sacrifices of their families.

Milestones Missed

Our men and women in uniform have missed many major milestones in their family’s lives and those of their children’s while they’ve protected ours. They’ve missed holidays and ceremonies, ball games, the birth of their children, anniversaries, the death of parents and loved ones, and a million other important events while they were defending our freedoms and liberty.

We have so much to be grateful for, and so many Veterans to be grateful to. These fine people are owed debt of gratitude. And yet, most of them never expect one.

As we prepare to go to battle once again, I think it’s time we patriots band together and remind our neighbors of the great sacrifice.

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.

I had the immense honor being the daughter of a member of The Greatest Generation. My
continued appreciation and desire to pay homage to our great military is borne from that. To my first true patriot, and all our men and women in uniform, past, and present – Thank You.

We honor you this month and every month. We acknowledge the sacrifices of your service, as you defended our nation’s freedom. And in the great words of Lee Greenwood, we are ready to “stand up next to you and defend her still today. Because the flag still stands for freedom, and you can’t take that away.”

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