It has been said that military service is a family business. When one family member joins, the entire family is enlisted. As we celebrate Veterans Day, we seek to honor all who serve —both those in uniform and the loved ones who stand by their sides—even when they must stand thousands of miles apart.
On behalf of a truly grateful nation, we simply say, “Thank you,” and we promise: WE SEE YOU. To the fathers and mothers who send sons and daughters to Basic Training to become the next Greatest Generation on which our very futures will depend: we see you.
To the siblings and friends who send childhood playmates off to become someone else’s Battle Buddy in war: we see you. To the sweethearts and spouses who are willing to be separated from their loved one for a time so that mankind can become more united in liberty and justice for all: we see you.
To the Gold Star Widow who worries that the value of her late husband’s sacrifice has been lost and the sanctity of his life forgotten: we see you.
To the teachers and administrators who still teach today’s students to pledge allegiance to the flag, and to stand for our beloved National Anthem: we see you.
To the businesses who honor our veterans not only with special pricing but truly with special treatment: we see you. To the families who celebrate birthdays and holidays from opposite sides of the globe while separated by a deployment: we see you.
To the sons and daughters who must spend the rest of their lives separated from a parent due to a military death: we see you. To the remaining members of the Greatest Generation who survived the horrors and the honors of World War II: we see you.
To those who fought nobly in Korea and might feel that your service is as forgotten as that war: we see you. To those who faced the horrors of guerrilla warfare in Vietnam and then the even more horrible rejection by your own countrymen when you came home: we see you.
To those who have served in peacetime and yet stayed up to date in your training and been prepared to deploy at a moment’s notice should the call of duty come to you: we see you.
To those who have been assigned to military bases across the globe, in lesser-known locations and been engaged in lesser-known but equally important theaters of war: we see you.
To those who have stood on the battlefield and witnessed the death of your brother or sister in arms, and then wondered why your life was the one to be spared: we see you. To those who joined the military in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, knowing full well that you were signing up in a time of active war: we see you.
To those who continue to serve in a world where global uncertainty is the only thing that is certain: We see you. We see in you the courage to overcome, to endure, and to inspire. We see in you the capacity to rise up and to lift up the very world around you.
To those who serve us, we see you. And we thank you. And we honor you. Perhaps days like Veterans Day exist to remind us to see that we best honor those who have been willing to give their lives for us by making something of honor out of the lives they have given to us.
And that is exactly what we see America’s military families do.
Jennnie Taylor is a Gold Star wife and founder of the Major Brent Taylor Foundation in memory of her husband. Major Taylor was killed on active duty in Afghanistan on Nov. 3, 2018.