More than One Way to Give Your Life For Your Country

He was helping me carry my packages to my car. I was buying some items for a church group donation. We were collecting for a men’s group home in a nearby town. Most of the men there are homeless veterans making their way back into their communities.

This man was a veteran from Iran. That caught my ear. I’d never met a veteran of Iran before.

We talked about the 1979 hostage crisis when radical Iranian students invaded the US embassy and captured 52 US citizens. They remained in captivity for 444 days.

In 1979, I was a young mother with two young children and a newborn. My younger daughter was one week old when the embassy fell. She was nearly 15 months old when they were freed.

This man helping me with packages had been part of the failed rescue mission. He said it was his “Benghazi”.

I could tell he had an edge to him. Couldn’t be bothered with small talk. Had seen too many big things in life to talk small.

He mentioned PTSD and some other disorders in quick succession. He had seen things. He had done things.

He said that until he got this job, where he’s worked for five years, he’d had trouble staying employed. This company understood him. Perhaps what they understood was what he’s given for us. Perhaps they understood better than we know.

There is more than one way to give your life for your country.

We say it. We tell them thank you for serving. What we need to realize is that sometimes we are talking to the walking wounded who have truly given their lives for us. They are not the same people we sent off to fix a crisis.

He left part of himself over there.

We can’t thank him enough.

We can’t thank them enough.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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22 Replies to “More than One Way to Give Your Life For Your Country”

    1. Thanks, Roos. Unlike my father’s greatest generation, the veteran’s experience is not common. Most people have not had that experience. That’s where the hollowness rings in our thanks. We simply don’t do enough. God bless!

  1. Wow Nancy- that’s powerful! “Thank you” is really never enough because we don’t really know what these men and women have truly sacrificed. Even though they are still alive, they really did give their lives for us because you can’t be the same after seeing and doing what they have. I was an EMT for many years and I can’t unsee so much of what I saw. I can only imagine what someone in active duty has to deal with after returning. Thanks for giving us a new focus on Veterans Day!

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Paul. You have a much better view than most people as a former EMT. Thanks for your service too. And more than thanks because you understand that better as well. God bless!

  2. So often we aren’t sure exactly what to say to our veterans. “Thank you for your service” is the only thing we say, even though we are wanting to express much more. My family is thankful for the service of all military. We have several family members who have served to keep us safe. What a blessing to have people who give their all to keep us safe.

    1. That’s so true, Melissa. What else can we say? There are perks to being a veteran, but they are not enough for so many. Our vets who are hurting do not get enough care. Thanks for commenting and God bless!

  3. Thank you Nancy – it is easy to brush over what others have done to protect our own freedoms. Many of those events are life changing if not life taking.

    Thank you is not enough as a set of words it needs to be an act of ongoing kindness

    1. One act of kindness would be to ask hurting vets who are able to help us–to participate in ministry. It sounds counter-intuitive, but when someone helps another, that someone feels useful and worthy. The lives of our hurting vets hold great purpose. Thanks for commenting, Bob. God bless!

    1. Hi Nancy, just a heads-up: I’ve attempted to comment on other posts since this one, but the comments disappear for some reason. Not sure what’s happened. Wanted you to know I’m still a fan of your blog!

  4. What a story, Nancy! You definitely captured my heart. What you say is so true, “What we need to realize is that sometimes we are talking to the walking wounded who have truly given their lives for us. They are not the same people we sent off to fix a crisis.”

    I don’t think we always stop to really think about the sacrifices people make and have made for our freedom in America. Thank you for giving me a reason to pause and ponder this!

    1. Great point, Chloe! And I wonder what that would look like? I know a struggling vet who just can’t get the help he needs from the Veterans’ Administration. That would be a good place to start. Thanks and God bless!

  5. Hi Nancy. I knows knowa lot of war or world history, but I know our military and veterans, well, we can include all military and veterans across the globe, experience and sacrifice so much more than many of us. Thank you for serving therm, for loving them.

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