What it truly means to be a Veteran


As Americans, we often struggle with what it means to be American. Being an American means cookouts, fireworks, democracy, and freedom.

What is the cost of freedom?

I can tell you that freedom is the most ex­pensive item on the market, it is non-refund­able and can only be bought with sacrifice. Many veterans gave their lives for us, whether they came home in a box or in a seat. Accord­ing to mission 22, twenty-two veterans lose to the war inside each day.

We know what it means to be an American. So, the question remains, what does it mean to be a veteran?

The word veteran is used in our vocabulary to describe someone who has served our country honorably. Whether the person paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat, gave into the war inside their mind or never deployed.

As service members and as Americans we should still stand for the flag, shake hands with the men and women. Most importantly we should continue to support those families the best we can. Being a veteran is not just about the glory, the stories or the accolades because that is not why they signed their names. They signed their names to serve our country and give back to the place we all call home. Veter­ans have integrity, the willingness to follow all orders and protect their fellow men and women of The United States of America. For­mer President Reagan said it best, "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in this world. Veterans don't have that problem."

Sun Tzu wrote an iconic masterpiece named "The Art of War"; it has since been on many military reading lists. I have read the book over 50 times, and I can tell you that he sums up exactly what it means to be a service member or a veteran. He explains the drive and the willingness to do things in grave danger. He says, "In happiness at overcoming diffi­culties, people often forget the danger of death." We think back on the past wars our country has en­dured and the peo­ple who fought in those wars.

Many of our fam­ily or friends served or knew someone who served. They took an oath stat­ing to protect their country and consti­tution in great dan­ger against all enemies foreign and domestic. We recognize these men and women as heroes of our coun­try for they are held to the highest of stan­dards. They are the reason we continue to have fireworks, cookouts, and the little things we forget to notice each day.

To the men and women who served and continue to serve, fair winds and following seas. Semper Fidelis from sea to shining sea.

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