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Why do I appreciate American veterans?

Honestly, I have struggled trying to answer this question.

How can this question be justly answered?

I can show, say or write my reasons, but it will never compare to the appreciation they truly deserve. American veterans have made countless and selfless sacrifices that can never be repaid. They don’t do it for the glory or fame. They don’t do it for the money. They do it for you and me, complete strangers. They serve for their loved ones, their friends, their neighbors, and the men and women standing right by their side. This is why I appreciate American veterans.

It takes courage, strength, and honor to serve.

Veterans leave behind their families not knowing when, or if, they will see them again. They sacrifice time they will never get back with their own family, so you and I can enjoy time with ours. While we are laughing at the dinner table, opening presents on Christmas morning or blowing out the candles on a cake, they are fighting for our freedom. Freedom that is not free. Time is not the only price these brave men and women pay. The emotional and physical toll on a person is just as costly. Veterans see things that are unimaginable to you and me on a daily basis. They make decisions that nobody should ever have to make. Many return home never the same, and many never return home at all.

Veterans Day is a day set aside to appreciate these courageous men and women, but one day is not enough. One day does not account for the bloodshed, the pain, the loneliness or the burning desire to just hold someone they love. It was not just one day for them. It was weeks, months, years.

So why should one day of honoring and appreciating them be enough? They did not have to serve their country. Yes, some did not have a choice, but it still does not make it any less of an experience for them. Good or bad, the experience left an impact on their lives forever. An experience that took dedication, bravery and pride. Veterans do not receive enough credit for the impact they have on this great nation. A nation that can be called great because of them. As American citizens, it is our duty to appreciate them. Just as they made it their duty to appreciate and love their country so much that they would die for it. Veterans have shown the ultimate display of love. The least we could do to repay them is to appreciate a veteran every chance we get. Whether that be showing up to an event, volunteering, or simply just saying thank you.

I will never understand the heartache, pain, strength and bravery that comes with being an American veteran, but I do understand the appreciation they deserve. I know that I appreciate every single one of them.

I thank them for their sacrifices, selflessness, bravery and, of course, my freedom. Veterans truly are the heart of America.

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