On October 24th of 2012, I was coming home from a business trip in Ohio. After driving in circles trying to find the off-site rental car return in the Columbus Airport, finally finding that, taking the shuttle and getting to the counter – I was fourteen minutes too late to catch my flight. Thank goodness I was able to take the next flight out that night which was direct to Saint Louis. To be honest, I was feeling a little exhausted and not really looking forward to my birthday the next day (forty never bothered me … the ones afterwards … well yikes.) I was tired, sick of the inundating negative political ads, fighting off a cold and yearning for my bed, my pets and family.
When I finally boarded the small plane heading back to Saint Louis, I noticed many emergency vehicles out on the runway with lights flashing. Immediately I thought it was a politician coming into town. I was dead wrong; it was a soldier, coming home. Sadness overwhelmed me as I thought about the soldier, his friends and family. Then I felt a rush of shame for even feeling slightly sorry for myself. I was coming home – later but alive.
My father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Some of my youth was spent as a “Military Brat.” Thank goodness most of the attitudes have evolved and our brave men and women do not have to be subjected to the derogatory treatment returning Vietnam Veterans dealt with in the past. This still does not take away the sacrifices these men and women make on a daily basis for our country. So I’d like to say THANK YOU! Thank you for leaving your home town to places abroad. Thank you for making a commitment to the United States. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for taking a risk. Thank you for believing in our country, protecting our freedom and democracy. Thank you military families for your sacrifices too. I know you miss your loved ones especially during the holiday seasons.