For today's guest blogger we get the treat of hearing from Amanda.
She's a proud Navy wife but also an Army brat!
I grew up in a military family. My mother is a retired Army veteran, my husband is a sailor, and almost every male member of my family has been in some branch of the military. Being surrounded by the military every day of my life led me to take for granted all that they do for us. I never thought twice about the importance of standing in respect while raising and lowering our flag, about saying the pledge every day at school and in movie theatres or the moment of silence we took part in to honor those who serve and who have served. I didn't pay attention when I was being passed on the street by a man or woman in uniform or with base stickers on their car. These things were every day occurrences and as a child I never stopped to think about what it all means to me. I didn't think about the sacrifice that was made by these servicemen and women and their families everyday, even though I was already making that sacrifice myself. It was something we just did because that's what we were born into. We didn't think about why or how we did it, we did it because that's what you're supposed to do, that's who we are.
But looking back, I hate that I took it all for granted. I should have stopped what I was doing, taken a look around and allowed myself to feel the overwhelming gratitude, respect and humility that I should have felt. Those that I feel now, as an adult and as a Navy wife. The members of our military make such huge sacrifices for us, everyday, and not too often do we just stop and feel grateful.
I have always been on the side of the troops when it came to the war, but it wasn't until my mother's accident that their sacrifice truly hit home. My mother was an MP in the Army National Guard. While she was at Camp Blanding for AT (Annual Training) she was on patrol around the post when the driver of the Blazer they were riding in swerved and hit a concrete bunker. My mom had no choice but to medically retire from the Army because of this accident. Despite all that, she still retains a strong desire to serve our country and her dedication to our military.
And a few years later when my husband and brother in law decided to join (Navy and Army National Guard) I went up quite a few points on the patriotism Richter scale. I'm embarrassed to admit that it took all that to make me realize how wrong it is to be so apathetic towards our Armed Forces.
I've been hearing some wonderful stories of gratitude lately, and I've experienced some myself too. As beautiful as they are, it also saddens me that the gratitude and kind actions of a neighbor are the exception, not the rule. I know our service members don't do what they do for accolades or recognition, but they deserve it. The brave and honorable soldiers, sailors, airmen, and coast guardsmen who serve and especially those that have given their all are true heroes. And they deserve every bit of recognition we could possibly muster up for them.