While many active duty parents, sons, and daughters give up birthdays, graduations, weddings, and so many everyday family activities/memories - too many of our military have given up their very lives! And families have lost fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, and sons and daughters.
A soldier in Iraq, a marine in Afghanistan, a sailor in the Pacific, or an airman on a far-away base would love to be anywhere but where they find themselves. It is difficult for the general population to grasp all of this because less than one percent (1%) serve in the military. Not only are their few who serve, there are few who even know anyone who serves. Therefore, the sacrifices or known, but felt by few.
My career spanned over twenty-nine years, yet I served at the tail end of the Viet Nam war and retired a month after the Twin Towers were destroyed with all those lives. I really had no hardships of my own. But I know many who have, including my son who, in fifteen years has had five combat tours as a helicopter pilot in the Army. These men and women know real stress, not the stress most of us consider tough.
As a citizen, a veteran, and a father, thank you and a salute to those who occupy Jefferson Barracks Memorial Cemetery in my hometown of St. Louis, and all the US National Cemeteries throughout the US and Europe. And to our active military, stay safe! And a salute to you also!
PS. If you don't know what a Gold Star Family is, find out.