Editor grateful for the ‘unseen’ sacrifices

Writing this article really made me take a minute to think about how lucky I actually am to be able to write this article and have it published in a newspaper.

Veterans Day was just eight days ago and I wonder how many people took the time to consider all the things that might not have been or currently could be possible without our soldiers.

Some countries don’t have the luxury of being thankful for their freedom like we do.

On Thursday, I was given the chance to listen to two veterans, not much older than me, explain and discuss what being a soldier is really like. Hearing the two men speak really opened my eyes to the sacrifices made by our soldiers on a daily basis, just so their fellow citizens can enjoy a free life.

One of the topics discussed that really stood out to me during the panel was the actual loss these soldiers feel. Some, mostly all enlisted soldiers, started out a very young age, only 18.

These new adults to society were formed and turned into defenders of our nations. This way of thinking and acting doesn’t just leave you – it is molded into who you are.

Once a soldier, always a soldier, according to one of the guest speakers. They are young for a reason when first starting out. It is easier to shape them to follow orders – no questions asked – because they are still at a young, impressionable age.

So, when you think of the sacrifices made daily by men and women of our armies, take into consideration the lessons taught to them at such a young age and how those lessons will always be a part of who they are.

Seeing a war and being a part of a war with brothers and sisters will leave a lasting memory. For some, moving on from that moment in their life is next to impossible.

I never really thought about the mental sacrifices soldiers make, and that was maybe naïve of me to do so, but the damage done psychologically is never shared with the public. There will be news stories about the soldiers who survived but are now amputees, but never about those who suffer from post-traumatic stress unless they do something news worthy.

It’s sad, honestly, that the men and women protecting our nations set out at such a young age and come back as strangers to who they once were.

I was given the freedom of speech because soldiers gave up their lives years ago and still continue to do so today. We all should be truly grateful for their selflessness because some countries are still fighting for a right that we could have lost 70 years ago if World War II didn’t end the way it did.

 

BECKY HILKER

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