To the Men and Women of the United States Military:

This will be our first 4th of July as a family of 3 when we are all together. Last year, my husband was deployed. The years before that, I had to work every 4th of July.

With Independence day weekend is coming up, I should be happy. However, I can’t help but think of the reason WHY we get to celebrate our nation’s freedom, and that reason is this country’s military.

To those who are deployed or have been deployed or have been separated from your family to answer the call of duty, “Thank You”.

Every day poses a risk for our military. They could be on the streets of Baghdad or on a carrier in the Pacific or standing duty in Fort Hood, TX.

Meanwhile, your family and friends are preparing flag decorations, grilling, having a beer, waiting to see the fireworks, enjoying a peaceful and patriotic holiday. Well, they are able to enjoy this weekend because of you. This country is still the land of opportunity because the military, past and present, help make it so.

To our military members, holiday or no holiday, you work long hours, you eat what is available, you sleep on cots (if you’re lucky).  It may have been days, weeks, months, or even a year since you’ve gotten to kiss your spouse or hug your children.

Yet you remain resilient, fighting the good fight, standing and protecting the people of our country.  And yet, no one forced you to serve. You volunteered to be there. And every second you are there, you are doing your part to protect your family, your friends and your nation so that they may enjoy the freedoms of this holiday.

As I said, my husband couldn’t be here for 4th of July last year because he was deployed, defending our nation so our family could sleep peacefully.

To him and the rest of our military, there is honor given to those who wear the uniform and rightfully so. We should pay tribute to those who fight to protect us, and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and died fighting for us.

There are no words to say I could say to express the gratitude that I have. This country has been fighting war after war after war. The people and situations that oversee this war culture is beyond my control. But what I can control, is expressing how grateful I am for all that you do.

Thank you.