It is Veterans Day and I wanted to reflect on why people serve. I asked a few people their opinions on why they served and was surprised when more than one of the people responded that it was a personal matter and they did not want to share, but then I thought really deep about what making the choice to be in the military really means. They are right. It is a personal matter and not something to take lightly. A person can get carried away with the hoopla of joining the military after talking to a recruiter, but everything with the military takes time and in the time it takes for you to arrive or complete your military training you can change your mind.
Joining the Military
When you sign up to be in the military, you know there is a risk that your country will ask for everything. And you have to be willing to take the risk that you might be the one who is asked to take that sacrifice. You do not join the military for honor or glory. Maybe after it is over you will find some of that, but no one dreams of that. If you have honor you have gone through great sacrifice.
So many people today have deployed and given so much. I want to remember those people. The ones who gave up part of their lives to be part of the military. How many birthdays, anniversary or holidays did they miss? How many miles away from home did they travel? Everyone serving in the military is asked to sign a blank check, not knowing how much the deposit will be. Everyone sacrifices.
I served because I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. I felt God calling me to join and the journey he took me on is still unfolding as I find a passion to write about my past experiences and hope to find ways to encourage others through my story. Everyone needs to hear the stories from our military and their families. It is the only way they can know why we do what we do.
Here are some other thoughts from family and friends on what service means:
“I discovered it wasn’t just a job and I love it. I get to do amazing things and wouldn’t change it for the world. Otherwise, I’d never met my husband and my best friend and their families…and I’d be stuck sitting in the same old job day after day, in a rut. I wouldn’t be pushed or challenged or continuously pushed to stay in shape either.” -PN
“My decision to go into service was based on appreciation. Serving meant that someone else didn’t have to. The most tangible example I can think of is my deployment to Afghanistan which was actually assigned to someone else. He had already had his wedding day ruined by a separate deployment and then this one would have meant he would have missed the birth of his first child. He was asking around the community for someone to take his place. I agreed. He wasn’t shirking his responsibilities, all he wanted was this one thing. – NF
“The separation from the family, long hours that eat up evenings and weekends, as well as frequent moving are all results of the needs of the military superseding all else. I feel that my time in service gave me a greater appreciation for time with my family, for the freedoms that I enjoy as a citizen, and for my own ability to impact the world in which I live. And I can appreciate the value of that freedom, “Something given has no basis in value” -ST
“Serving, for my husband, is a great honor. He is proud of his service for almost 18 years. It hasn’t been easy for us as a family at times, but we stand firm on our beliefs and we make difficult situations draw us closer together. Serving this country is bigger than ourselves and we are happy to be a part of it” -TW
I am thankful for my freedoms and I know that I now have a better understanding of what that truly is, especially since the experience was by choice, not conscription.” – NF