This week, on Veterans Day, we celebrate and honor our Veterans because of their patriotism and love for this country… and their choice to sacrifice so much for our country, our allies, people they know, and people they will never meet.
Veterans Day is dedicated to paying our respects to those who have served in our US Armed Forces. While I personally am in awe of our service members—past, present, and future—for this one day, we—as a country—stand united in respect for our Veterans.
This holiday was originally called Armistice Day. It originated as a way to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in service to our country. It is celebrated on November 11th—the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which ended World War I. In 1954, the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” to account for all Veterans in all of the wars our country has seen.
Unseen Veteran Sacrifices
Our Veterans have experienced sacrifices that most people never have to think about.
Employment: Military spouses typically move from one city or state to another when their active-duty spouses are assigned to new duty stations. These moves can make it very difficult for trailing spouses to maintain continuity in their careers or to find similar jobs, each time they move, in their new location.
Education: Military children have to move frequently because of their active-duty parent’s reassignment. The many moves can make it challenging to transfer school records, obtain class spaces for the courses they need, stay included in their extra-curricular activities, and complete all of the required testing on the appropriate timelines.
Wellness: The ongoing stress of repeated moves, war, and deployments actively affects the wellness of military families. Spouses and children experience anxiety, as well as changes in relationships with family and friends. They experience isolation and emotional challenges in dealing with their service member being deployed, ill, or injured.
While any one of us can experience some variation of any of these stresses, our likelihood of experiencing all of them at any given time is much lower, or unlikely altogether.
When asking Veterans and services members what they consider to be their biggest sacrifices for serving or having served in the military, they humbly shared their responses:
“Time away from family and friends” … whether this be due to deployments, moves/relocations or even just training, service members sacrifice time with friends and family that many of us take for granted.
“My time. I basically lost several years of professional experience by serving” … some service members don’t serve for the entirety of their career, and they don’t always get to choose what they do when they serve. This means, when their time is up, the work they did doesn’t always put them further ahead for their career, and they may start a new career path—years behind their peers.
“My children not having roots or lifelong friends that they grow up with” … while technology is nice, and can be helpful, it’s not the same as being in one place. And while service members get to make new friends each time they move, the trade-off is that when their time in one place is limited, they don’t get to necessarily know their new friends intimately (and vice-versa).
“In a way, probably family” … When choosing to serve, you leave your family behind. And for most, that is a huge support network—as we all know.
In speaking with another Veteran, when asked what he considered his biggest sacrifice for serving, he responded that he considered it “an honor but not a sacrifice…” due to the fact that, at the time, when deployed to Vietnam, he wasn’t leaving behind a wife or child… he considered his service a “patriotic honor, with no particular sacrifice.”
Some can’t even see the sacrifice they make.
Veterans – By the Numbers
- 5 Million: the approximate number of Veterans in the United States.
- 9 Million: the number of Veterans over the age of 65.
- 6 Million: the number of Veterans receiving disability compensation.
- 2 Million: the number of female Veterans of those receiving disability compensation.
- 500,000: the number of World War II Veterans still living in the United States.
- 56 million: the number of Veterans in California, the highest number in the country.
- 46 million: the number of Veterans in Texas, the second-highest number in the country.
- 11%: the percentage of Veterans who experience homelessness.
- 50%: the percentage of Veterans experiencing homelessness who also live with a mental illness like PTSD.
All of these statistics are found here.
Veterans Day for Me…
As a previous spouse of a Veteran, I’ve experienced the loneliness firsthand while my spouse was away on orders, or for training. And while it was lonely, it was always an honor. Having active duty family members, I’ve watched the trailing spouse and their children move—again and again—and adapt; making new friends, finding new homes, starting their lives over again (in many ways)… and I’ve always watched and supported in awe.
And living in a prominent military community, I know many Veterans and active-duty service members and have seen most come and go. I have a good friend whose spouse just left on a submarine, days ago, for an unknown number of days, leaving her and their two children behind. The heartbreak is real. But the honor is also just as real. And all I can do is offer friendship and support. While I can relate on a high level, I believe that only those who serve, truly understand the sacrifice.
We Wouldn’t Be Here
In closing, we would not exist as a country, as we do, without our Veterans or active service members. Home of the free, because of the brave. The sacrifices that our Veterans have made should not go unnoticed.
If you’re a Veteran, I would love to know what you consider your biggest sacrifice for serving. Will you comment below and let us know?
And if you are a Veteran, here are some Veterans Day Deals, Discounts, and Freebies that you deserve! Take advantage of them 🙂
Also, if you are seeking a federal job or promotion in Federal Government, and need help with your single, most important career document, we’d love for you to join us on our livestream this week.