Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Veteran's Day

It's a day after Veterans Day, but it's never too late to express gratitude.  This day is one that I am learning to appreciate more each year.  Growing up I never understood what this day is all about.  Thinking back to elementary school the word veteran = Lt. Dan from the movie Forrest Gump.  I was smart enough to know that Lt. Dan was a fictional character and since he wasn't real veterans probably weren't real either (little naive me).  I didn't come from a family with a rich military background.  I do have extended family member that have military experience, but regretfully, I have yet to take the time to learn of their service.

Jordan with Pedersen at boot camp graduation

I know now that veterans are very real people.  They might not look like Lt. Dan although some may.  Most veterans are the average Joe.  It's almost impossible to be in a place where someone isn't a veteran or doesn't know a veteran.  Looking back to my freshman year of college my best friend, Brittany, and I took an Army ROTC class together.  Being associated with ROTC is committing social suicide but I wouldn't give back the experiences I had or the people I met.  Below are a few of the experiences that allowed me to increase my appreciation for our service men and women.
  • Fire watch in the dark and freezing temperatures.
  • "Sleeping" on the ground covered in frost. 
  • Early morning PT (I may have skipped out more than once)
  • Smelling MREs (I didn't need to taste it to know it was a waste of calories)
  • Participating in color guard
  • Wearing camo pajamas one too many times
  • Attending a dining-out (Those events are full of tradition!)

ROTC FTX Brit and I only survived because Jefferson took us under his wing.

The nastiest panty-hos at the dining-out

I couldn't end without sharing a little of my very own personal veteran (I am aware that I don't own him).  Jordan is an Active Duty Marine.  He has served for 3 years and is currently on his second deployment.  He is a grunt and a badass.  He will out hike most in his platoon while carrying others gear.  He has a sharp eye and excels in his duties.  You might think I am being bias but I am not.  That is all fact.  I am honored and proud to support him.  Being married to an Active Duty Marine, I have first-hand experience in making sacrifices that are necessary to protect this country.  Jordan shared with me a part of an email that he received from another Marine.  There was a line that read, "we sacrifice our lives, family time, birthdays, holidays, funerals, births, and first bike rides for our country." The list could go on, but when I read those words I was overwhelmed with gratitude that Jordan and so many are willing to put this country before their families, education, and personal goals.  I hope that all Americans feel an obligation to help this country stand strong so that our military men and women do not feel their sacrifices were made in vain.  When you encounter a veteran make sure you thank them for their service.  I know it means a whole lot to each of them.

My favorite picture of J in his Blues.

USMC 237th Birthday Ball

Just before J's first deployment

Saying goodbye to the pup before his second deployment

J's new bed for 8 months

J's new home.  He hardly fits at 6' 5"

Come home soon!