Oh Veteran, while I was finishing up high school debating what career to pursue, it was then that you decided to enlist. I sat through college courses, complaining about how I didn’t have a social life, and counting down to graduation. Meanwhile, you were on a ship or overseas, far from all your family and friends. At night I lay sleepless, dreaming of what could be and all the things I desired to accomplish. Yet there you were many time zones away in the middle of sea or in a land so foreign and far from free.
I was safe, in the comfort of my bed inside my home. As I looked out my window I saw many stars fill the night sky, they were full of radiance. You saw the same stars as you lay there in your sleeping bag in the cold of night. Behind you, noises of the war kept you awake and you kept a watchful eye of everything over your shoulders.
Dear Veteran, you finally made it home after long weeks and endless months of fighting to stay alive and witnessing such horrid unspeakable things. Your eyes have seen only what we could imagine and yet you still try to hide it behind that smile. I pass you in the supermarket, our paths cross in the parking lot, and you move me to tears with your kindness despite all you have been through.
You noticed that day I walked around the lake, as I did every other day, but this time without a smile on my face. It was your automatic instinct to text me and ask if everything was okay. Dear Veteran, you noticed that little glitch in my day while you covered all your bruises and your scars.
And that day when my plate was full and I wondered if anyone saw me, it was you dear Veteran that showed up at my door with a box of donuts. A little sweetness to my day, you proclaimed.
Dear Veteran did I forget to tell you thanks for what you did and what it meant for me? You fought too defend our freedom, but you did what others could not do.
Today your battle scars still remain, you carry them as they have become etched on your person, your eyes cannot forget. I wish I could take that pain away. Your story is intriguing, I wish you would finish writing about it for I love hearing your stories. You are filled with more strength than you give yourself credit for.
Dear Veteran, your sacrifice hasn’t gone unnoticed, you gave up so much so that I could accomplish certain goals. I may not know each one by name, but I thank you for your service, for what you did and continue to do, I shall never forget.
Dear Veteran, thank you for serving and still you touch me with the bigness of your good heart. For these, I shall never forget.