This essay was written by my daughter as part of a scholarship application from the American Legion Rider. She was awarded $1,000 by a very generous group of Veterans and we are very grateful to them for the gift and all they have done and continued to do.
The Military and Veterans in Our Society
At some point, there are and have been those people who wake up one morning and by the end of that day, they have enlisted in some branch of the military. Within a year, these same people find themselves stationed somewhere far from home and family, far from the life they have always known. Taking that one step, deciding to join the military, all by itself is an act of courage. Little do they know, when they wake up that day, they will be part of something that will change them forever in ways they never thought of.
When asked about the role the military and veterans play in our society, most people give a cliché response such as “they protect our freedom”, but I think they do so much more than that. There are the critical, yet subtle influences which they bestow upon all those with whom they come in contact. They acquire a work ethic through their military training that is not commonly seen in any other walk of life. To be part of a veteran’s life is to learn something of the value of self-discipline and teamwork and following instructions. These things are important because they teach those whom they encounter that can all have a role to play, even if it might seem menial or insignificant. They demonstrate how cooperation and respect are key to accomplishment. These basic foundations influence every life they touch from that point forward because they take it out into the world and share it with people who never considered how such simple values are the heart of what makes America great, the force behind every realized dream and the entire point of freedom itself.
Veterans are people who have tested these values to the extreme, undeterred and motivated by a sense of duty to a country, a way of life they understand and do not take for granted. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. --Thomas Jefferson. I believe American Veterans have been the key to preserving patriotism, traditions and a way of life which would have been forgotten and abandoned long ago had it not been for that one day these Americans woke up and decided to serve, or perhaps participate on a daily basis in saving their country. Because of these people, many of whom are in my own family, I still have the opportunity to pursue my dreams and I can realistically expect that they can come true. Thank you for this gift.