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.

Posted by Cadet CPO Caitria DeLucchi, NJROTC in Navy
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  • John Warrick

    Outstanding article Caitria. I’m SO proud of you!!

  • jack murphy

    I agree with John’s reply whole heartedly. It is good to hear from younger people on their thoughts regarding Veterens. Perhaps it would be a good idea to follow the Korea Vets and their “tell America” campaign to go into schools and tell why we were in Korea, what it meant to the whole world. Wars were fought to preserve democracy and stop the spread of socialism, communism, and facisim. We should be able to talk freely to our young people about what we did, where we went and the sacrifices that were made to make America what it is today.

  • Stuart Lewis

    United States Army: “This We’ll Defend”
    United States Coast Guard: “Semper Paratus”
    United States Navy:”Non sibi sed patriae”(Not Self, but Country)
    United States Marine Corps: “Semper Fidelis”(Always Faithful)
    United States Air Force:”Aim High…Fly, Fight, Win”[1]
    US Navy SEALs: The only easy day was yesterday.
    National Guard of the United States: “Always Ready, Always There”
    US Army Rangers: “Sua Sponte”

  • Bravo Zulu, Cadet Chief Petty Officer Caitria DeLucchi, Bravo Zulu.

  • Ron Furgerson

    Thanks for sharing this inspirational article. It is reassuring to know that there are young men and women out there like Cadet CPO DeLucchi. Many blessings to Caitria and all those serving in the navy and other JROTC services.

  • A very fine essay but a very fine young American. Well done, Caitria, we’re all very proud of you.

  • As the son of an Episcopal Missionary; I can identify with all of the moving that you did. When I told people about how many places I had lived while growing up; the first question that was asked “Was your Father in the Military?” I would reply by saying “No, he was missionary.”

    That you & your family for all of your service.

  • Lee Foshay

    Chief Petty Officer DeLucchi, Outstanding, from a former “Brat”

  • RobL_v2

    Thank you USNI,

    Let us not fail to remain optimistic!

  • RobL_v2

    Thank you CCPO DeLucchi!

    Please don’t forget that every day you live is an opportunity to gain insight and understanding. Never settle for what you are told via the media or hollywood or any other pursuit that is so popular among Americans of all ages today.

    Share your wisdom with your peers and remain ever vigilant.

    If you when this generation’s time comes to pass the mantle, we will do so confidently and rest secure knowing our posterity is in good hands.

  • surfcaster

    Well done,

    A former Brat and High School Junior Rotzi, err, Sargent

    (Patch High, Vaihingen (West) Germany, ’86)

  • tnmccoy

    The Democrats keep trying every four years to negate, dismiss, deny and interfere with the absentee ballots from the Military. But, I’m proud and thankful for the men and women in the Military. And I’m proud and thankful for our Veterans living and dead.

  • William Twaddell

    Two points: First, my congratulations to Cadet CPO DeLucchi. You have a bright future ahead of you. May I suggest you seriously consider the Marine Corps and Semper Fidelis!
    Second, regarding tnmccoy’s posting of some six hours ago (at the time of this posting). What planet does this guy live on? He inappropriately uses this venue to vent his own prejudices. Dropping the statement that the Democrats
    “negate, dismiss, deny and interfere with the absentee ballots from the Military,” and then offering absolutely no backup support such as facts, names, dates, places, or other data to support one’s case only serves to paint Mr. McCoy as ill-informed, if not ill-educated. I will presume that he is much better than that, and that he simply did not have time to think through what he wrote. So, Mr. McCoy, I look forward to having an adult level, informed discussion with you, if you like. By the way, I entered the Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Captain. In the past, I voted from overseas via absentee ballot, as I did again this year. No problem whatsoever. Go Navy, Beat Army, Semper Fidelis and a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, including Mr. McCoy!

  • saorao69@gmail.com

    It is great to see that somebody this young gets it!! I thank you! The tourch will soon be yours hold it high and with pride and know we will be behind and watching over you.
    Semper Fi Cpl. Steven A. Owens ret.

  • Would it be possible to post a list of all Navy JROTC units? The High School here has an Army Unit, but I am not aware of Navy Units in South Carolina.
    Thanks, Woody Sanford
    Capt.,MC, USNR(ret.)