Happy Veterans Day is not enough to all those who have served our country and for those who are on active-duty. When I was young, joining the military was never an option for me. I just never thought it would work for me. I knew that I would attend college after high school and I did. My brother and sister chose the military. I believe it takes special people to serve their country knowing that they are fighting for the lives and rights of others. It takes special people to know what can occur in war; that you may never come home, and if you come home, you will never be the same; but still choose to serve.
When the United States went to war and soldiers were sent to Iraq, my sister who was serving in the army reserves since graduating from high school was called into active duty. She had never been called into active duty and I was horrified, as was my family. How can a women go to the field and fight? Earlier in my brother's career when troops were sent to Saudi Arabia, he went. He was in the Navy. I was 2 years younger than he was and as a teenager I didn't fully understand what defending your country on active duty meant. I did know that I wanted him to be safe and come home soon. He served on the USS Coral Sea. I believe this ship has long since been retired. He came home safely but war will always have an impact on the individual that no one can understand fully except the person who experiences it.
When my sister went to Iraq, my nephew her son came to live with me along with their cat Penny and Spike the turtle. This was quite an adjustment for not only my nephew but for the cat. I also had a cat and he was not pleased and had never been around other animals. I believed she served about 2 years and became ill while in the desert of Iraq. She was air lifted to Germany and hospitalized and then brought back to the states to Walter Reed Medical Center where she stayed for some time. While she was in Iraq I was amazed that families needed to send care packages to their family members. People are laying down their lives and the military didn't always have the basic necessities such as toilet paper, sanitary napkins, and you name it. She was family and we sent her what ever she wanted and what was allowed. I could never imagine being in a tent in the desert of Iraq laying on sand with gun fire in the background. I will never forget it and I wasn't there.
She eventually returned home to Philly with the aftermaths of war and the actual possibility that she could actually be sent back! How dare they. Well our family was blessed and she didn't have to go back. I share my story to say that I am thankful that she and my brother, my grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins were willing to lay down their lives so that I and many could live in peace. Our family has been blessed because of all the family members who have served on active duty, our family has had no casualties although injuries. I pray the the government will continue to recognize the work of all men and women that have served and continue to serve. Veterans should not have to struggle for jobs, health care, or housing when they come home. For your service you deserve the highest salute and thank you for all you have done, and all you do!