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A Civilian Sees the Sacrifice

Updated on November 20, 2012

The ignorance of one who hasn't served shows.

A friend who is a veteran told me one day a repair man came to their house and actually had the audacity to say that those serving in the military don't really know what a hard day's work is, in front of my friend who is a veteran. I asked my friend if he made the repairman kiss the wall. Unfortunately he did not, he said he wanted to though. However, I'm kind of glad he didn't because then he would have ended up in jail for doing a community service in regards to idiocy, which would have created more expenses than what that piece of work was worth.

But seriously, only someone who has not been around a military base or military personnel, whether current or former, would say something as asinine as our military doesn't know a hard day's work. Those of us who haven't ever served in the military, take for granted the freedoms we have. I'm not a political person, I lean neither left or right. When I go to vote, I do not vote along party lines. I educate myself on the issues and candidates, what their platforms are, and choose the candidate who I feel is best for myself, my family and country. Sometimes I've gotten it right, sometimes I haven't. But through all of it, I never take for granted that there are people from other countries out there who would kill me just because of where I am from, and it's because of those serving in uniform away from their homes, families and friends, that I am relatively safe where I live.

The veterans that I have contact with on a daily basis, served in three different branches of the military, and before they were 30, had some sort of back problem, knee problem, hearing problem or other joint problem. The only way you can get those type of issues at that young of an age, is by being constantly on your feet carrying massive amounts of weight while wearing shoes that are meant more for protection than for walking miles upon miles every day or by constantly being around loud noises like gunfire and loud machinery.

They go in as boys and girls, but come out men and women.

What we as civilians don't know, or if we do know, don't fully comprehend, is that these men and women put their lives on the line for us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They get shot at even in supposed "peace" time, have to constantly be aware of their surroundings. Even when sleeping, they have to be prepared to get up at a moment's notice and be alert, so they can take care of business.

During boot camp they are torn down as people and then rebuilt as soldiers. They do more exercise in a day than most of us do in a month. Then when out of boot camp, they still have to exercise and be ready, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

They don't have contact with their families on a daily basis like the rest of us. They don't get every holiday or every weekend off. Even if they are given permission for leave they could still be called back at any second for whatever reason. They don't get paid near enough for what they have to deal with on a constant basis 24 hours a day. (Do any of you see a common theme running through this?)

When they get out, they are left with aches and pain that will follow them the rest of their lives. Our military get medical care that isn't worth the price they paid to serve our country. Our men and women who volunteer to serve go in as young people between 18 and 21, and even if they only serve four years, they come out middle-aged men and women because their bodies have been put through so much. Much more than what we as civilians can even imagine.

I am so proud of those that serve.

The above is only a brief synopsis of my own experiences of growing up around military bases, from having been married to a veteran, being friends with veterans, and listening to their stories. I could delve into the psychological aspect of being in the military, but that would make this way too long.

I just wanted to take a brief moment to acknowledge that this is one civilian who is grateful for what you, my friends, and all other military personnel both current and former, sacrificed and in many ways are still sacrificing, to protect me, my family and our way of life in this country, so that we may sleep in peace at night.

Thank you seems so insignificant in comparison, but it is all I have to offer, other than a hug if one is wanted.


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