What Veterans Day Means to the Daughter of a Veteran

Veterans Day — the holiday that I hold close to my heart. It means so much more to me than just a day off from school.

I grew up in a military family, and I am a proud military brat. My father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and my brother is currently serving active duty overseas as a USAF Captain. My sister works with the military as a spokesperson for the U.S. Army, and my mother has one of the hardest roles — being the wife and mother of those fighting for our country. My story is not like that of a typical military child, in which he or she grows up moving to different states and has to constantly start over at new schools almost every year. Rather, that is more like my siblings’ stories. I was extremely fortunate to have only moved to five different houses in four different states by the time I was five years old. From then on, I grew up and graduated with the same friends I met in my kindergarten class. I am lucky to have had that.

Don’t get me wrong, growing up with two family members serving has always been hard. Six-month deployments would feel like forever, and I always missed my family. I am thankful for phone calls and FaceTime, but sometimes it was not enough. Sometimes I just wanted to give my daddy a big hug or play Guitar Hero with my brother at home. But these hardships tested me and made me a stronger person. I knew that the sadness I felt saying goodbye to my family would soon be replaced by happiness when I saw them come down the escalator at the local airport. Making the “Welcome Home” signs was always exciting because I knew that the countdown for their arrival would finally begin, but there was still the uncertainty that their time would be extended because of a faulty aircraft or a miscommunication. Those last few days always made me anxious, but prayers kept me calm me when approaching the time for their arrival. It wasn’t the drive to the airport that was my favorite part, but instead, it was the drive home with an extra person sitting in the car with me. I always liked that part.

I am so thankful for my father and my brother serving our country, my sister protecting the image of the Armed Forces and my mother for staying strong and comforting me during the hard times. Over the years, I have gained a greater appreciation for this special holiday because I have actively seen the efforts that our men and women in uniform put forth every day to fight for our freedom. Veterans Day means so much more than just thanking our veterans; it is a day to honor them. Knowing what my father and brother have gone through, a simple handwritten letter showing appreciation for their service can go a long way and can make their hearts smile.