Written By: Jared Lyon, EBV and EBV-F National Program Manager
November is an interesting month; you may notice men nationwide participating in “Movember” whereby they commit to growing their mustaches in an effort to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer. In this age of social media, a great number of people participate in “30 days of Thanksgiving” by posting one thing they are thankful for each day for the month of November via various social media outlets.
November marks Military Family Appreciation Month, in which we recognize the service and sacrifice made by the families of our nation’s service members. This is also the month Veterans Day occurs on the 11th, a day to honor the service and sacrifice of all the men and women who have ever worn the uniform of our country. And who can forget Thanksgiving, that most uniquely American holiday in which we all pause, even if just for one day, to give thanks for all we have and lend a hand to those who may not.
I served in the U.S. Navy from 2001–2005 as a submariner and diver. Between lengthy time at sea and deployments, I spent many a U.S. holiday outside of the comfort and grace of our nation’s borders. I look back on my time in the military and it reminds me that no matter where we may find ourselves on Thanksgiving we have much to be thankful for. There is something unique about not having the option to be with family and friends during the holidays; it sparks feelings that cause you to deeply miss all you left at home while reflecting on what is truly important. This Thanksgiving, I reflect on not just being thankful for what I have, but for what it means to serve at home and abroad.
Over the last decade a small percentage of Americans have borne the cost of over 10 years at war and they have done so on behalf of the lion’s share of our nation. This all-volunteer force is comprised of some of the finest men and women I have ever had the pleasure to serve with and the honor to know. These men and women know what it means to serve and do so willingly for their teammates, their friends, their families and their country. They serve our nation every day of the year and this Thanksgiving I think of each of them.
Calvin Coolidge once said, “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.” So in the wake of Veterans Day, and on the eve of Thanksgiving, join me in being thankful for the service of our military families on the home front and our military members standing watch and on patrol throughout the world. Remember them in your thoughts and think of those Americans who cannot be with their families this holiday season. This Thanksgiving, join me in making a pledge to find a way you can serve your fellow citizens this holiday season as a way to honor our military’s service to all of us.