I wanted to write down a quick note about today. It’s Veterans Day. I wanted to make sure that everyone understands just how much support is truly appreciated. You see, as a soldier, I was often asked why I served the country. I surely did not do it for the money. If you look at a soldier’s pay, you’ll quickly realize that it is certainly not enough for the potential sacrifice, and the every day sacrifices that get made by the soldier. A soldier gives up a lot. It’s almost as if it’s a given that every young troop will miss out on his or her 21st birthday celebration in favor of General Order Number 1. That’s a rule that prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Big deal? No, it’s definitely not in the scheme of things. No, but they give up on memories! For example, I missed out on my older brother’s wedding. I had scheduled leave a year in advance, only to be told days prior to the plane flight that I wouldn’t be able to go. My presence was deemed critical for an inspection that didn’t matter in the slightest. It was a quick glance at some records, to make sure they were in order for the next inspection whose purpose was simply to prepare for yet another inspection… you get the idea. So many soldiers miss out on the birth of their children, the first steps that child may take, the school concerts and the softball games, daddy daughter dances, and the list goes on. I even know guys who have lost the opportunity to be a father all together because the military moved them far away from their kids.
So why do they do it? I’ll be honest, from personal experience, there were days when I wondered why I bothered lacing up my boots. To this day I remember one day specifically. I went into a local pharmacy to grab something, and an elderly woman came up to me. She took me by the hand and thanked me for my service. She went on to tell me how the love of her life died in World War II, but for her it was worth it because it allowed generations like mine to grow up. I realized the gravity that the uniform carried. I smiled at her, and thanked her for HER sacrifice. To sum it up simply, they do it for you. They do it for their loved ones here in the States, their childhood friends, distant relatives, and even the people who look down their noses at the military. They do it for the American people. They do it because they love this country, what it stands for, and everything it entails.
On a day like Veterans Day, we acknowledge the soldiers that have hung up their boots, and put away the uniform. In a heartbeat, they would take them back out again if duty called. It goes without saying, but on Veterans Day, we thank them for their sacrifices. We thank them for the toll on their bodies, their spirits, and their lives that every day may have cost them. Now this post has definitely gone somewhere I didn’t intend it, but I wanted it out there all the same. If you see a soldier in uniform, thank them. You never know what your words may do. If you see a veteran wearing a hat with the words ‘Insert War’ Veteran, thank them. If you see a badge on a shirt, or a tattoo on an arm, and you think it might be military, ask them, and thank them. Your words will lift the spirits of any soldier, past or present, and it would do them a world of good.
On that note, I’d like to thank the companies out there that take it upon themselves to do something special for Veterans on Veterans Day. It would be impossible for me to list them all, but I wanted to take the time out to give a shout out to the restaurants I visited today.
Bonefish Grill offers vets their critically acclaimed Bang Bang Shrimp. It was the first time I had it, and I loved every bite of it. It was a little spicy at first, but it grew on me, and I’m pretty sure I licked the bowl clean. It was that good. The wait staff and management were extremely courteous, and I know I’ll be heading back there in the future.
Famous Daves allows veterans to choose two meats for a meal, complete with a side. The food was good, but the company was better. I sat at the bar and noticed several other vets doing the same. It was nice hearing the experiences and memories they had while they served.
From there I went to Longhorn and got a chance to try out their White Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake. It was very rich, very sweet, and very good. Longhorn has always been one of my favorite steakhouses, and the food never disappoints. They took another step to show their appreciation and handed out cards to the vets. The added touch on their part, touched my heart.
I also decided some wings were in order. Buffalo Wild Wings is definitely a place I recommend. They have numerous TV’s going, each with a different game on, and the wing sauce selections are amazing! So many flavors, so little time. BWW did something extra special for veterans that I had to give special props to. They had a pour it forward system in place for vets to get drinks to go along with the wings. Customers could pre purchase tabs to pay it forward, giving a special thanks for a complete stranger down the road. Amazing, simply amazing.
When it’s all said and done, it’s nice knowing that businesses support veterans. Whether it’s a free haircut, car wash, food, or simply discounts, it’s nice to see them giving back. From the heart of this vet, THANK YOU.