Life as a Combat Veteran: What I’m reminded of on Veteran’s Day 

I love seeing my news feed on Veteran’s Day. The old pictures, the memories and the conversation between former combat brothers makes me smile…and sometimes bust out laughing. It is through those pictures and other moments on this day that I am reminded of a few things. 

1. I’m not Special. 

It seems that due to the amount of phone calls, texts and messages that I receive that I would feel the opposite, but I don’t. Each Veteran’s Day I am reminded that, like me, millions of other men and women have answered the call to serve our country. Like me, many have been wounded. Just like me, they have left family and friends to serve wherever their branch needed them to go. It is certainly a special brotherhood to be a part of, but I am just one of many who have sacrificed on behalf of our country. 

2. America is Grateful. 

While there will always be extremists on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to any issue, I truly believe that most Americans appreciate what the members of the military have done and continue to do. The posts of gratitude are heartfelt, sincere and come from just about every person that we know. You may say that it is only a status update and doesn’t require much effort, but I appreciate each and every person that takes a moment to remember. 

3. Freedom is Worth the Cost. 

This is a hard point to write and to think about, but it is true. The cost of freedom is not cheap but it is necessary. If the alternative means sacrificing our freedoms of religion, speech and so many more, then I think we all would agree that we must continue to defend the way of life we all hold dear. As I write this I realize that the future battles of the United States will not be fought by myself or my military brothers. It will be up to future generations to carry on the tradition of service, sacrifice and duty. This could include our own children. While this thought makes me cringe inside as a parent,I know that the freedoms we hold dear will not go without future attacks. 

So this Veteran’s Day take the time to thank those who served our county. As a group, they are special and are worthy of our gratitude. Also take a moment to discuss with your children what this day means and why it is so important. For it is their generation that the responsibility of our freedom will be handed to one day. 

Praying that God continues to bless America! 

                     –Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.

Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families. 

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