November 11 is Veterans' Day in the United States, and for many of us, it's a day off from school and work, a holiday to get things done and catch up with family and friends. But it's also a day to remember and be grateful for the sacrifices that the members of our armed forces make every day, along with their families.
My father was active duty military when I was growing up, and as a child, I accepted it as our way of life. There were special and unique experiences that came from all of the moving around, including the chance to live in different places, meet lots of different people, and do lots of sight-seeing (I'd been to most of the fifty states, and seen more national treasures that I can remember, by the time I started high school).
But now, as an adult with more self-awareness of who I am, I also know what I missed out on. There are times, especially when I'm struggling, that I wish that I'd had the benefits of growing up in one place, with lifelong friends and a greater sense of security. I have an inkling of how that might have made me happier and more confident.
However, I can see the good that came from growing up a military brat, and I am who I am today because of those experiences. I also know that serving our country involves genuine sacrifices - not just the most obvious, terrible ones involving physical and psychological injury, but smaller ones like not being home for the holidays, moving and changing jobs every few years, and regularly changing schools, often in the middle of the school year.
So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to the members of our armed forces as well as their families!
Two of my favorite ways to support the military are the USO and Operation Gratitude. I'll be at Operation Gratitude's assembly day next week!