Today means something different to everyone. For those who have never served but understand and respect those that have and do serve it means one thing, there are those who have never served and just don't get it and have no regard or respect for the ones that have and do serve and their meaning of the day. Then of course there are those of us who have and are serving and certainly get it and we all joined whatever branch we did for our own reasons. Now there is really one last group that I now find myself a part of. The families of those that have or are serving. This is a unique position to be in, the one of being a family member of a service member. I am very proud to say that I served with honor and minor distinction but I now have an 19 year old son that last year took the oath and join the US Army and Virginia National Guard and the pride I have in him far exceeds the pride I felt in serving myself.
Now as the dad of a US Army Soldier the emotions and feelings are all over the place. Pride, Fear, Gratitude, and even simple awe that an 19 year old young man on his own can make such a huge and life changing decision to serve. You see I was 21 before I joined and had the chance to live a little as they say, But my son started serving while still in Highschool and is now serving in college. Now my son is not alone in this. When we went to his basic training and AIT graduation the median age of his training battalion was eighteen so there are allot of young men and women making this choice. But this is my son so yeah I am a little bias I suppose.
Fact is every year many sign up and take an oath in our all volunteer services. I served and it was good for me and I know it is good for my son. I have life long friendships from my service and I meet new friends often that we have a special bond because we served maybe at different times and in different branches but we all have something in common and a special bond that unless you have served no one will understand. And our families have a similar bond with other service families. It is really and extension. We come from all walks of life and backgrounds but we are all connected.
This year now not only a veteran myself but the parent of a service member I have even more reason to say Thank You to all that came before me served with me and are serving today and an early thank you to those that will serve in the future. You are a foundation that makes this country great and despite anything that is happening makes me proud to be an american and a veteran.
The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they're protecting us. Tom Clancy