Today is Veteran’s Day and we owe at least a few minutes of reflection to our men and women in uniform, past and present, to acknowledge their stellar contributions to our country.
My youngest brother, Paul, is a member of the armed forces. He decided to join the Army shortly after the September 11th attacks and went into basic training in the spring of 2002. A few months later, he joined the Army’s prestigious 82nd Airborne division (hooah!) because he liked the idea of jumping out of planes!
Paul spent a pair of tours in Iraq. Those were nervewracking years for my family. Each time I heard about a soldier being killed or injured on the news, my heart skipped a beat and I’d wait breathlessly for more information – which unit, which division, what happened. I spent loads of time chatting in Internet groups where other family members shared news and information (Rick, Deborah, Jo, Lindsay, Georgie, Bobbie and more were lifesavers during that time).
The hardest days happened when we received the updates about a death. Those updates were heartbreaking. I still remember coming back home from a trade show and hearing that Marc Seiden was killed just weeks before they were supposed to come home. I think I cried for an hour straight. And on the next tour, Michael Duel, who was in Paul’s platoon, was killed mid tour. Just writing this makes me cry a bit because I think so much about their families and how important their contribution is to our freedom. While I’m not one to pray much, I still say prayers for both of these brave soldiers and every time I hear about injuries or deaths because this is someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, mom or dad, etc.
I’m very proud to be part of the military family and want to thank all of our soldiers – present and past – for their dedication. Thank you for keeping us safe and for giving your all for our country.
On this Veteran’s Day, please remember our troops and let’s all do all we can to make sure that they come home safe.