As I sit here listening to President Obama speak, I can also hear the ack-ack of pretend battles at a nearby Army base.  In our current location, that isn’t unusual.  The sounds of battle are randomly heard day and night.  I think of those young men and women stationed not only at the Army base but also at Elmendorf Air Force base which adjuncts the Army base.  The sounds remind me that these young people whom I see around town are preparing for whatever battle lies ahead wherever it may be.  Not all will survive the battle and those who do will forever live with the consequences be they physical and/or mental.

This knowledge comes from personal experience, not only mine, but also my two best friends. I see and hear in passing moments of our conversations the pain that seeps through all three of us.  The misery and beauty of those times still live with us.  I, for one, am a better person for being part of an elite force at a time when women weren’t necessarily as welcomed as they are today.  Given a choice, I would make the same decisions that were made then.

So, too, have these young people made the decision to think outside the box stepping out of their comfort zone to belong to something bigger than themselves.  They will grow and mature into tomorrow’s leaders, be it in military or civilian life.  Our freedoms lie on their backs and their willingness to make the sacrifices needed to support the greater good are done so willingly.  Godspeed, young warriors, happy Veterans Day.


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