As many people have posted on Facebook and media outlets alike messages honoring the veterans of this country, I decided to stop and think what those words really mean. I get the words, people have fought for the well being of America and deserve a day to be honored for their actions. I’m not sure I really understand the meaning.
People come to the point of enlisting for many reasons. Some as a means to an education. Others as an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And some even come to the decision as a “calling,” much like a religious awakening.
All the times I was driven to a choice, decision, for my life, it has always been selfishly motivated. Choosing to go to a specific college, going after a certain career path and ultimately my fateful decision to stay home with my kids. The people who have enlisted their lives for the well being of America put some of their personal goals aside for this larger goal.
As human beings, we are wired to think of ourselves first. It’s sort of a survival of the fittest mentality. So I don’t think that soldiers are enlisting strictly as a self-less act. Yet they still leave their families, their homes, their lives to go overseas and fight for something so much larger than themselves.
I write, think and talk all the time about how I want the best for my children but I’m actually unwilling of really fighting for it. In some ways, just being with them I’m working towards providing the best I see fit for them. But I clearly have my limits.
So instead I depend on a bunch of men and women I have never met to ensure the life I take for granted is secured. They fight for something I never question, they fight for something I never properly appreciate, they fight for a lifestyle that I have come to expect. And I barely understand the words necessary to properly thank them.
So today, which has always been more about my friend Mara’s birthday than actually Veteran’s Day, I celebrate the men and women who continue to ensure our basic liberties. I graciously appreciate that I will never understand what they have given up to do what they do or what motivated them to do so. But I’m forever indebted to them for helping to give my kids the best lives they can have.