When a person enlists in the military, they choose to defend the freedoms that this country stands for at great personal sacrifice. They willingly give of their time, efforts, and talents, understanding that they may also give up their own lives. We should also thank their families for sharing their loved one with us, and for making sacrifices so their soldier could serve. We are indeed fortunate to be blessed by brave and selfless individuals in the name of freedom.
Teachers don't teach for the money. They teach to make a difference in the lives of their students. In the same vein, soldiers don't serve to become rich and famous, they serve out of love for country and the desire to serve and protect the people who live in it. Saying "thank you" and honoring their service is the least we can do. As a teacher, there is no greater feeling than to have a current or former student tell you how much they appreciate what you did for them. And our service men and women are no different. They too, need to know that we, the citizens of this great country, appreciate their efforts on our behalf.
Some of my favorite memories of trips to Washington, DC, are to the memorials of Korea, Vietnam and WWII, and to Arlington National Cemetery. To see an elderly man, led by a family member, survey the reflecting pool, or someone scratching the image of the name of a fallen soldier onto a piece of paper, or the solemness of the guards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I am humbled by the sacrifice that our veterans have made for me and this great country we live in.
I personally want to say thank you to the teachers that taught me how to read and love learning, and to the veterans and current service men and women whose love of America allowed me those learning opportunities.