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Veterans Day 2013

By Mirah W. (mwelday)

 

 

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs website, Veterans Day is ‘a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good’.  This year I will be celebrating Veterans Day without my husband, who is currently deployed to the Middle East region. But we are counting down, what we hope will be, the remaining days of this deployment for us.  I am a very proud Navy spouse and, even with the periods of separation, I believe in our choice to serve and have never regretted our decision to join the Navy.  I say ‘our’ because we made the decision together.  However, I also recognize my husband’s service is just one part of the much bigger picture.  We are all protected every day, every hour, and every second by someone else’s child, parent, sibling, spouse, or friend.

In honor of this Veterans Day, I decided to read a recent book that has been the cause of much condemnation by some and praise by others: No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden.  My husband read it and recommended it to me.

No Easy Day, whose title is derived from the Navy SEAL philosophy that ‘the only easy day was yesterday’, is a firsthand account of what it is like to train to be a SEAL, the toll that being a SEAL takes on a person, and the events leading up to and the night of the mission which led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Throughout the book I laughed at the tales of camaraderie and practical jokes and cried over the physical, mental, and emotional toll it took on the SEALs and their families. Once I got to the chapters regarding the research, preparation, and completion of the mission, my heart was pounding and I couldn’t put the book down.  My chest felt tight and I was practically holding my breath. When I read Owen’s account of his fellow SEAL calling in and reporting, “For God and country, I pass Geronimo. Geronimo E.K.I.A.”, I had tears streaming down my face.

I remembered crying over this mission when it was reported in the news. It’s hard to explain my emotions; I was relieved, sad, proud, and angry all at the same time.  I’m not implying I felt the impact of this moment more than others, I just felt it deeply from my perspective.  The events of September 11 are the reason we are a military family now.  We made a choice to change the direction of our lives after that day.  Because of the impact that day had on me and my husband, I felt I needed to know what happened to the man who orchestrated the event that would change not only our lives but America as a whole.  I had a right to be able to come full circle.  And Owen was very careful not to divulge information that would endanger missions of the future, which I respect and understand.

This year for Veterans Day, I encourage everyone to take to heart Owen’s message in the epilogue of No Easy Day: “I challenge every person who reads this to sacrifice a little something as well. I’ve been asked a question: ‘I’m not a SEAL and probably couldn’t do it if I tried, but what can I do to help?’  Two answers come to mind. Don’t just live, but live for a purpose bigger than yourself.  Be an asset to your family, community, and country. The second answer is that you can donate time and money to a veterans’ organization or one that supports wounded warriors.  These men and women have done their part and need our help.”  The SEAL who wrote this book is going beyond his own service and is donating the majority of the proceeds of No Easy Day to charities to help veterans.

I accept this SEAL’s challenge.  I will try to be an asset to others in my words and actions. Veterans Day means so much more to me now that I am part of a military family.  I recognize I truly am a part of something bigger than myself. I take to heart that while my husband wears the uniform there are things I can do, too, to serve my country.  I feel a swelling of gratitude and pride every time I see a military family’s reunion on television or hear our national anthem. I will continue to support veterans’ organizations and be the best possible supporter and encourager of our military as I can be.  And for me that starts at home.

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2 Responses to “Veterans Day 2013”

  1. Gail Ptacek says:

    Micah, thank you and thank your husband for putting your lives on hold and on the line so that me and mine can live ordinary lives that are safe and secure.

  2. Lenore says:

    Mirah:
    Great job. Was just speaking to a Vietnam Veteran today who served 2 tours there. His family is one of the oldest in Guam to own a business. It has been in his family for 98 years and he made a promise to his grandmother to keep it running. We have found that the people we have met so far in Guam are proud to be Americans, proud of their service. They truly have met the enemy in WWII when the Japanese overran their homeland. They realize freedom comes with a price, it is a privilege that is earned. Thank you and thank Kurt for his sacrifice.

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