Many people can say they have one or two special people in their lives that make them who they are. The military is who makes me who I am. I have interacted with and known my fair share of servicemen and women. More importantly, I have had two grandfathers who were in the service as well as my husband. It is far from just being patriotic on July 4th, Memorial Day, or Veteran’s Day; my heart goes beyond these holidays. I love the motto “If you can’t stand behind our military, please feel free to stand in front of them.” I proudly stand behind our service members with respect and gratitude because without their bravery, our country’s battles would be fought on our home land, robbing us of our sense of security. Being thankful for their dedication and commitment to our country is what brings out the joy and humbleness I show to our military men and women when I have the chance.

Both of my grandfathers served in the Army right out of high school. They both did their training and were off to fight in the war.

Living in military communities, you don’t have to travel far before you see a serviceman or woman. This gives you a chance to say “thank you” in your own personal way. Sometimes it may be a verbal “thank you for serving” or, in a non-conspicuous way by paying for their meal at a restaurant or snacks when in line at the store. I also will occasionally let a military man or woman who is dressed in their uniform get in front of me in line.

“This is my way of trying to tell them, “your time is more valuable than mine.” It is the simple things in life you can do that reassure them they are fighting a war with us and not against us.  Reminding them we appreciate their dedication and service to our country. As we continue to support and bless our servicemen and women, I notice my husband and, sometimes our Family, get the same respect. It makes me especially proud to see a retired veteran go up to a young Soldier and shake his or her hand and say, “thank you.”

Being married to my Soldier for twenty years makes me the most proud. Since I met my husband twenty three years ago, just after he signed up to go to basic training, he has proudly served his country. We have survived a deployment, which will never allow me to hear the national anthem the same way I did as a child. Nowadays, when I hear that glorious national anthem start, I know I will be choked up not even a fourth of the way through the song!

I am so proud of my husband for being in the Army. The Army has set the standard for what it means for him to be a great man and excellent leader for our Family. Achieving his goal for a perfect score on his physical fitness test has been ongoing now for several years. I proudly serve my Family while my husband is away during his annual training and during his deployments.

It does not matter if you have a Soldier in your Family. Showing a little American pride can go a long way in a Soldier’s heart. It is as simple as saying “thank you” or allowing them to go ahead of you in line next time you are in the store. You can be generous and pay for a meal for a Soldier and his Family, or when you see a good sale on snacks, pick up some extras to drop off at your local unit.

Being proud of the military can go as little or as far as you want to take it. Sit down and listen to a veteran tell his stories of the way it used to be and what he or she survived. You may happen to catch the military pride fever that I seem to have caught.