Since 1776 over 48 million men and women have served in the uniforms of our military services.
Yes. You read that right.
That would be approximate to the current populations of California, Oregon and Washington State.
Over those 245 years those mostly anonymous patriots have served in every capacity from the supply section, to the mess hall, to the motor pool, to the aid station and the hospital ward, to the carrier deck crews, to the gun crews, to the pilots and to the battlefield. All of them have given of their time and their freedom to serve the nation in times of war and in times of peace.
It is through the work and the sacrifices that each one of these men and women have done and given that this nation has had the opportunity to become the longest experiment in human freedom and government “of the people, by the people and for the people” in human history.
Nothing of greatness is ever achieved without immense sacrifice. 99% of those who have served are unknown but to their families, friends and maybe their neighbors. But the fact is that their anonymous service to the nation was part of the edifice of freedom that this nation has represented to the world for two and a half centuries.
To those veterans among us today, those few now among us who fought and sacrificed on behalf of human freedom in Europe and the Pacific during WWII, those who served in Korea and Vietnam, the Gulf War and in Iraq and Afghanistan and all those who served in times of peace deserve the nation’s eternal thanks.
If you know one, or if you see one with a baseball cap emblazoned with his or her unit, the ship they served on, the logo of the branch they served in, or the war they served in, just say a simple “thank you” to them. That is enough. That’s all it takes.
Thank you. And, “Welcome Home!”
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.