Tags: Caitria DeLucchi, Guest Post, NJROTC, Veterans Day
We often hear how the younger generation doesn’t appreciate many of the things that make this country great, the people responsible for our enduring freedom, and the sacrifices required to keep it that way. This essay should assuage some of those concerns.
Veterans Day is an important day, but few recognize what it really means. To some, it is just an ordinary day. To others, it is just a day off work, a day to sleep in and relax. But to others there is a much deeper meaning behind this holiday. To those people, it is a day about remembering, commemorating, and praising those who have served this country as military professionals.
My mom, my dad, my stepdad, my stepmom, my uncle, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather all served in the military, and I grew up as a Navy Brat. At the time, I did not know what that meant. All I knew was that I was sick of leaving my friends and starting over every few years. All I knew was that I was sick of temporary houses; I just wanted a home. All I knew was that I was jealous of anyone who had the same friends from Kindergarten. I am not going to sugarcoat it, sometimes things were rough. And that is how it is for every military family.
Being in any branch of the military takes commitment, dedication and, yes, sacrifice. I did not recognize it at the time, but as I got older, I started to understand what it truly meant to wear the uniform. Since I have served in Navy JROTC, I have gained even more insight and a much deeper understanding. Wearing the uniform is not about just trying to look squared away. It is not just about doing it because you have been told to. There really is only one way to wear that uniform – with pride. It does not matter just that your uniform is perfect; if you are not wearing it with pride, you should not be wearing it at all. Over the years, hundreds of thousands – million even – have proudly worn the uniform and risked their lives to protect our freedom.
Serving in JROTC, I have spent a lot of time reflecting. I think of all my family members who have served, I think of all the service members I have met over the years moving from place to place, and I have wondered; “What makes some people so willing to devote everything they have?” They devote time with their family along with tremendous effort to the mission and total support and concern for their Shipmates. In some cases, they even sacrifice their lives. What makes them willing to give so much? What do they get in return? Now, I know that this has nothing to do with it. I really believe that so many Americans lack the depth of understanding. They do not understand that people in the military sacrifice so much for the betterment of everyone else’s life and they ask for nothing in return. I think that is the meaning of being a true hero. Athletes, actors, and superheroes may be cool and all, but they have nothing on the real heroes in our lives. We truly are the land of the free, but that is only because of the brave. We owe everything to those people who are motivated to fight for us.
Veterans Day is a perfect time to remind those Americans who may have forgotten that nothing else is as important as the freedom that these brave souls fought for, and so many more continue to fight for. Not every country is blessed with the gift of freedom, and sometimes, all too often in my opinion, we take it for granted. We all need to take this time to remember the people who gave their lives, to remember the people who are fighting, and to remember the people who are deployed away from their families. This we need to do every day, not just on Veterans Day.