The Green Camo Uniforms
From the time I was a child, I knew the men and the women who wore the green camo uniforms. I saw them at restaurants and I saw them pick my classmates up from school. We honored them at our annual Veteran’s Day Assemblies. I knew the moms and dads who wore the green camo uniforms often had to leave their children behind for up to a year at a time. I saw how my classmates missed their parents. I saw how the sons and daughters of the men and women in the green camo uniforms were constantly the new kids in school. And it seemed just as they got comfortable, it was time for them to say their goodbyes and to move to another place where they would be the new kids again. I knew that when I saw the men and the women in the green camo uniforms I was to say, “thank you for your service.”
Until I left my hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, I had not a clue how unaware many Americans are of our military. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world. They are primarily known for the 82nd Airborne and the special forces operations. Some of my closest friends from childhood had parents in the military, so I saw up close just what sacrifice meant.
We had a military family spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with us because the patriarch of their home was deployed overseas. One of my close friends had two parents in the military, and they were often deployed at the same time. There were many days he went home to an empty house. Many wives to men in the military were left behind for months at a time with multiple young children to care for all while working full-time jobs. When I saw the men and women in the green camo uniforms, I knew that it was not just the one in uniform serving and sacrificing, but rather their entire families serving and sacrificing alongside them.
In college, I met people who knew virtually nothing about the military. They never necessarily said they disliked the military, but rather that they were indifferent to it. It was so foreign to me that people would not have deep regard for men and women in the military. To give these college students the benefit of the doubt, many of them were not taught about the military, so they did not know to revere it. I would offer them insight into what life was like for military families. And with great passion, I would express just what the men and women in the green camo uniforms mean to me and what they should mean to every American.
When I see the green camo uniforms, I see my freedom. I see the great privileges I have as an American carried on the shoulders of these men and women. And even more importantly, I see the sacrifice. I remember the men and women in the green camo uniforms who gave their lives so that I could have those freedoms and privileges.
So the next time you see a man or a woman in a green camo uniform, might I implore you to say: “thank you for your service.”