Those who choose to serve our nation are anything but common or ordinary, but in his Veteran’s Day address to his children’s school, First Sergeant Curtis Brandt shared the powerful impacts that have resulted from the efforts of those who were doing what they considered common and ordinary.
During his 18 years of serving in the Missouri National Guard, Curtis has worked to protect and enhance the lives of individuals here on American soil and in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Panama, Germany, Kuwait and Qatar. While on his missions to help those in need and protecting those who could not protect themselves, First Sergeant Brandt has missed many moments with his children, such as first steps and first toothy grins, and faced his son not knowing who he was after a year of deployment. There does not seem to be anything “common” or “ordinary” about giving up the ability to witness defining moments in the life of one’s child.
In his speech Curtis encouraged the students to be aware of how many veterans were sitting with them at that prayer service. His message was engaging and inspired those there to be thankful for and mindful of those who serve and have served in our military. He reminded them that our nation was not always one that enjoyed liberty, or lived with the rights of speech and religion, and was not always able to provide protection from prejudice. The students were challenged to find ways to thank veterans and their own means for keeping our country united.
The military members were not the only “common” or “ordinary” that Curtis showed respect for in his presentation, as he pointed out, “I would like everyone here to also extend their appreciation to the families of veterans because they also go through a great deal of sacrifice and hardship to support their loved ones physically and emotionally, while serving or having served in uniform.” Often we forget the sacrifices made by military families, as their loved ones work to protect and provide for our country in far off places.
I know Veteran’s Day was formally acknowledged on November 11th, but I agree with First Sergeant Brandt when he said, “Support this country, our flag, The Constitution and the beliefs in which made this country great. Express your love for the many freedoms we have and the opportunities and privileges we experience each and every day. This behavior means more than you can ever imagine in the eyes of a veteran.” When we celebrate and respect these beliefs and privileges, we show our veterans that their efforts were not endured in vain.
Put your energy and intents into serving our nation, its military, and veterans by expressing your love and thanks for all we have. Show respect and support for those who have served, who serve today, and their loved ones, as they go about their common, ordinary lives. This holiday season keep those who serve and their families in mind as you make your gift and food lists. Is there something you could give, do, or make that will help them celebrate while their military mom or dad is serving in a not so common or ordinary place?
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. If you are interested in sending letters or care packages to military members, here are some great resources:
Article on how to help military families during deployment: https://www.today.com/parents/holidays-every-day-7-ways-help-military-families-during-deployment-t55256