A day for saying thanks

Veterans DayWhen I wake up on a weekend, I decide what I want to do. If it’s hot outside, should I put on my T-shirt and shorts and take my dog for a long walk? Is it a day where I meet with my family for breakfast at a restaurant and we discuss a topic of our own choosing? 

Whatever it is, I can decide.

These are only two of many freedoms perhaps we take for granted. Living in America, we do have the opportunity to follow our dreams. We owe a great deal of thanks to those who have and currently devote their lives to serving our country and protecting the freedoms we enjoy.

My father served in the Air Force. Growing up on a farm, he was no stranger to hard work. Serving in the Armed Forces only enhanced the values he possesses. While in the service, he worked on planes and was in pilot training when his father sustained significant injuries at home. He was released from his call of duty so he could return home to run the family farm. When asked what his favorite part of serving was, he said it was the friends he made. It’s been 60 years since his discharge, and he still maintains friendships with some of them.

My goddaughter has served in the Marines for 10 years, now as a staff sergeant. She has endured two tours of duty in Iraq. She was near the front line and witnessed firsthand the ultimate sacrifice our young people were willing to make to defend America.

Her husband, Ramón, is a sergeant in a Special Forces unit in the Marines. He has done two tours of duty in Iraq and is now in Afghanistan. He is not allowed to discuss the missions he’s completed. We know that he is a very brave man and gives 100 percent every day so we all can continue to live in freedom at home.

I recently participated in a management course where we talked about being in the present. When Stephanie and Ramón are together, not only do they live in the present moment, they appreciate every second they’ve been given to spend together.

Stephanie and Ramon have a young son nicknamed Rai.

There have been times that Stephanie and Ramon have been assigned several thousand miles away from their beloved son. They forge ahead with the duties and give our country their absolute best. They are both positive, caring, devoted people. Rai stays with his grandparents during the times his parents’ duties take them away from him.

On Veterans Day, we need to remember it’s much more than a day where the mail doesn’t come and the banks are closed. We need to take a moment to say “thank you” to our service men and women, for giving up a portion of their lives so we can live in freedom.

Not long ago, I met a young woman on a plane. She was going home to stay with her parents for a year as she had just said goodbye to her husband, who was on a 10-month tour of duty to Iraq. She said she needed to convince herself every day her husband would be fine and would come home to her.

Many military families experience this same thing, some multiple times.

Martina McBride summed it up when she sang:

“Let freedom ring down through the ages from a hill called Calvary.
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain.
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key.
You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring.”

Editor's note: Starting Nov. 11, join American Family Insurance as we devote 30 Days of Thanks to the everyday heroes in our lives. Who would be on your 30 Days of Thanks list? Visit our Facebook page today and all throughout our 30 Days of Thanks to share your gratitude. 

by Sandra Lodholz on Wed, Nov 07 2012 9:30 am
Posted by Sandra Lodholz on Wed, Nov 07 2012 9:30 amSandra Lodholz is a worker's compensation claims unit manager at American Family Insurance's Wausau, Wis., office.


venessa said on Nov 10, 2012
I really appreciate your blog Sandra. I personally don't know anyone in the services but I do know that a lot of sacrifices have been made. I truly am thankful. For your Nice and her husband and everyone like them.
Tom Hanson said on Nov 09, 2012
Sandy thanks so much for sharing and for the commitments your family has made over the years and continues to do today.

I remember the time I spent serving and how that has made me appreciate what I have even more. My family seems to have always been involved in the service to some extent. My cousin's son is a Commander in the Navy in charge of a nuclear sub, one of very few that supports the SEALS special missions and another that is a SEAL and serving in IRAQ again today after being injured twice.

We need to be thankful for what we have, remember those who have made this all possible and show our support for those serving today.

Thank you to all

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