I remember years ago saying good-bye to my Dad as he headed off to another six-month deployment. These were the days without cell phones, without any means of communication for six months. There were hugs and smiles, and the wonderment of my Dad in his navy gear preparing with his squadron. We were all so proud of his accomplishments and how he represented our county with such pride and commitment. But, as he walked away from the car, I remember the pit in my stomach that would rise through my body very quickly. The tears would follow as I jumped into the back of the station wagon, and hid under a blanket, and cried through another good-bye to Dad.

As we have said our final goodbye to my father on October 18 of this year, the pit returns a bit stronger. I know there are so many out there that feel the same way and understand. I know there are so many other families that have deeper wounds and stories of loss. On this day, I hope we all can take a moment to back away from the politics of the day and share gratitude in our hearts for all the men and women that have served, and all the families that have known the sacrifices, and loss, for this country’s freedom.

We all stand tall as Americans. May we stand taller with each day.

God Bless all and thank you to the Veterans.