Tindall: Thank youWritten by Amanda Tindall | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As I arrived at the Omaha, Nebraska, airport after a family vacation, I was met with waving American flags and expectant faces. No, they were not for me. I had the joy of watching United States servicemen and servicewomen arrive home, embraced in the arms of their loved ones.
It was an incredible moment to watch. The expectation of return often sustains the families back home as well as the military members overseas. Their anxious waiting came to a close, as families were reunited and made whole.
As I walked outside where the buses were waiting, one man in uniform stood alone. I was young, and the memory is vague, but I walked up to him, shook his hand, and thanked him for his service.
Since that day, my appreciation for our armed forces has only grown, but I’ve also come to realize not every child knows to thank a man or woman in uniform.
Patriotism, a pride, a rootedness in country, is not something inherent. A sense of duty and devotion is a thing that must be taught, encouraged and cultivated.
When young Myles Eckert gave Lt. Col. Frank Dailey a note and the $20 he had found in a Maumee restaurant parking lot, his action did not come out of a vacuum. He had seen patriotism modeled in his mother and older sister Marlee. He knew the price of freedom because he had experienced the sacrifice necessary to maintain it.
During a recent interaction with a man who served in the Marine Corps, a friend of mine thanked the man for his service. He returned her thanks with an awkward momentary silence. “Thanks, I think,” he said. “I never know how to respond to that. I was just doing my job.”
But that job was a choice.
For some high school graduates, the military is the best choice for a career. Some recruits like working with firearms and grenades. Some join for adventure. Some because of duty. Most join because of a combination of things.
Even during the draft, they still had a choice. Our military members chose to fight, rather than run.
Whether or not they fully considered the deeper implication of their choice makes no difference — it is because of their sacrifice that we can enjoy the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Like Myles and Marlee, each person’s sense of patriotism and thankfulness must be cultivated. Many service members are thanked so rarely that they don’t know how to respond. Make it a habit to thank a man or woman in uniform every time you see one. Each one has accepted a task, the task to protect the lives and liberties of Americans, to defend family and friends as well as those they’ve never met.
Each face in this Toledo Free Press Military Yearbook is the face of someone who made a choice, who, despite the risk, found sacrifice for freedom most worthwhile. We thank the advertisers who supported this issue, especially Newsradio 1370 WSPD, Columbia Gas of Ohio and the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. We especially appreciate all those who shared stories, sent in photos and bared their souls to impart their wisdom. It is our duty to show them our thankfulness and gratitude for their service and sacrifice.
Toledo Free Press Staff Writer Amanda Tindall is project editor for the 2014 Military Yearbook. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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