Today’s post is short and sweet, but so important none-the-less.

While most of us deal with daily stresses like money, if our boss likes us, getting along (or not) with other people, and deciding if it’s a chicken or sofrita kind of day, our country is upheld by a different sect of people. Those who devote their lives to ensuring that our stresses don’t go beyond money and relationships. Or even beyond chicken or sofritas, for us lucky ones.

I’m not saying that some of the racial, sexist, or monetary trials of certain citizens are trivial. No, not saying that at all. But those things can’t be addressed unless we live in a country that remains free and safe. And the way that freedom is protected is through selfless individuals who fight for it in our behalf. The way we stay safe is through the bravery and sacrifices of individuals who won’t sit back and let us be defeated or terrorized. Those people, those veterans, deserve our pride. Not only our pride in them as human beings, but pride in the country– albeit a flawed one– that they work so hard to protect and strengthen.

Veterans’ jobs are not easy. They have to make incredibly hard decisions, or follow through with incredibly hard orders. There’s a camaraderie among them that allows them to trust one another as a unit, often forgoing what’s best for them as individuals. They do all of this in spite of being often forgotten, or taken for granted by the very people they spend every day serving and protecting. But they do if anyway, because they believe in the value of our country beyond personal recognition.

It kills me to hear of and see homeless veterans, or to watch many of our citizens insult those who serve by turning their backs on the flag veterans faught/fight so hard to uphold. Even– or especially– in wake of political madness, let’s come together to recognize the selflessness of our military troops, and even more so let this time of turmoil help us remember what kind of country we want them to fight for. Then do all we can to create that kind of country from the inside out, as civilians.

So, thank you, vets. Thank you for keeping your hope in America alive when so many others waver. Thank you for spending time away from your loved ones in the name of people you’ve never met or are not yet born. Thank you for reminding us of patriotism, strength, and selflessness. You deserve recognition not only today, but every day.

*A special thanks to my dad, husband, cousin, uncle, grandfather, grandmother, father-in-law, and stepdad for their service.*