November is a big month around here. It has two birthdays, the anniversary of Marc and myself getting engaged, Thanksgiving, and two other anniversaries that I care about deeply. One is that its adoption month and two that it has Veterans day.
Today, I want to talk about Veterans Day, I’ve written about this important holiday before. I think it’s important to recognize Veterans. Not only because I am one, but so many of us have received criticism and words of hatred for being in the military.
You may be worried about the way this country is going. This hatred people are spreading and that people can’t empathize or see another person’s point of view is a growing concern in this country. This country is still great. This country is still better and more privileged than most any other country out there. This country may have expensive healthcare, but it has great healthcare, you can have access to the latest life-saving procedures. In this country, I can get simple braces for my kid’s feet that allow them to walk. Overseas those things are a luxury.
The freedoms here are more than any other place I know. For all of that, all the freedoms the average Americans have, it was all on the backs of a Veteran.
When I was overseas, I spent a lot of time in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq. As a woman, these countries do not have the same freedoms. In my young twenties, I just could not comprehend why in Saudi Arabia I was not allowed to drive off base. My job was a driver, yet women can’t drive there. As an American, I could drive on the base, but if I were to leave the base, I had to be in the back seat. It made me angry.
I had never really experienced a place before where I wasn’t allowed the same opportunities as a man. Yes, there are hurdles even in America still for women, but they pale in comparison to those in other countries.
The not being able to drive was just one of the many things that separated me from my male co-workers, but it didn’t stop me from loving being in the military. With every trip I did overseas, I saw more and more that America was the best country in the world. I was free to be myself in whatever phase I was in. I could dress any way I wanted to dress.
America is great.
I remember once a man offered my sergeant $7000 to buy me. He had never seen a green-eyed girl before, and he would love to purchase me. My sergeant told him that I wasn’t his to sell and that it doesn’t work that way for Americans. It was a great joke for the rest of that trip, but the reality was that man was serious, and I have never been able quite to shake that eerie feeling of someone putting a price on my head and treating me like property.
My parents raised me to love God, to be independent, and that I was just as good as any man.
Most of the lessons they taught me didn’t stick until I went overseas and experienced and saw the world and the realities out there.
The fact that I couldn’t carry my bible openly I had thought was an exaggeration, but the dangers in this world against Christians are real. Chopping blocks are real. Punishments are extreme.
I saw fellow veterans always trying to help local people. Most of us Americans have it in us to be humane and to help people and animals. Almost every tour I was on some guy was trying to save a puppy that had just been abandoned. We are raised here to value life. Not treat others like they are simply property.
I’m not saying that America is perfect, I am saying that America is great.
If we could all just have our opinions and not shove them into each others faces it would be better. I for one am glad that none of us think the same. I don’t want to live in a country that people are afraid to voice their opinion even if they are different from me.
My point is just that you remember that all of these freedoms are on the backs of the Veterans in the military and to please show respect.
It amazes me still to see how many people hate the military or won’t hire someone because they were in the military.
My military career seems like a lifetime ago. Now I am a fulltime mom and a writer. Most people in my everyday life have no idea that I’m a veteran. I don’t fit that typical persona of what a veteran looks like.
I’m going to be marching this Veterans Day. I do like to march or to do school events for veterans. Not because I like recognition, that part feels weird to me, but because I want young girls, and boys to see, that a “real veteran” is an average person, an average girl who decided to play a part and help this country.
“Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.”