The timing of this column did not allow for a salute to our military on Veterans Day, but I am a believer in saying thank you, so I will not allow the vagaries of a calendar to get in the way.
We live in a nation that is seriously divided. he results of our most recent elections certainly reflect that, with just over 2 percent of the vote between winner and loser. It seems that our political divisions run deeper each day, but I have always believed that good people can come together for a higher purpose in spite of political differences, and our men and women in uniform are the most extraordinary example of that.
As a mother, I have always been profoundly grateful that there is a fighting force ready and willing to place themselves between danger and my children. It is an overwhelming sensation to recognize that complete strangers get up every day ready to die for you if called upon to do so. That is what separates them from us: the willingness to lay themselves down in our defense.
There are over 1.4 million Americans serving active duty today and another 1.4 million-plus in the Reserves. My gratitude and admiration for those Americans is unparalleled. There is something in the hearts of these men and women warriors that is tougher and more determined than ours. They feel a love of God, country and family that is deeper and more determined than ours. While most of us would step in front of a bullet for our own children, these people do it for each one of us. They wake up every day and go about their business as if they are just ordinary folks, while coursing through their veins is liquid courage and hidden beneath their shirt is the heart of a hero.
They are our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, our parents and grandparents. According to one source, over 1.5 million Americans have died in military conflicts since the Revolutionary War. That is an extraordinary sacrifice made by men and women who believed they were defending freedom, securing a better future for the children of their day, joining in a higher more noble purpose than one man.
When it comes to the necessity of war, we will never be in full agreement. But I would hope – and I do believe that among my broad circle of friends that this is true – that we can be fully united in caring for and honoring those who have served and assuring, always, that every single American soldier gets the support, the service and the gratitude they have so courageously earned.