In every house my family has lived in, there’s been a wooden sign near the front door that says “Home is where the Army sends us.”
Below, there’s a string of 10 hearts, each with a different location we’ve lived.
As a military kid, much of my childhood was spent moving every couple years and often having a parent deployed overseas.
I grew up living on Army posts, surrounded by other military families.
Most of the kids I knew had at least one parent in the military, so it seemed more like our parents’ jobs than anything else.
People came and went so frequently, that nobody was ever really considered “the new kid” because we didn’t live anywhere long enough to outgrow that title.
We knew the time you spent in one place was limited, but were excited about meeting new people and possibly running into old friends.
While I now realize this lifestyle seems unusual to many people, I didn’t think too much about it because it was so normal to me.
The importance of the Army was so ingrained in my life that it’s easy to overlook it.
When my friends from college first asked about what it was like to move around or have a parent deployed, I struggled to answer because I sometimes assume it’s just something everybody does.
But, as time goes on, I’m more and more aware of the unnoticed, daily sacrifices service members make.
We live in an era when wars or conflicts seem nebulous and it can feel like we’re fighting terror at home just as much as we are on foreign ground.
The picture of service members as heroes is often overshadowed by debate surrounding the validity of their work or the war they’re a part of.
Whether they’re recognized or ridiculed, those who serve are always focused on the next way they can help someone else.
I’m lucky that I’ve spent my entire life thinking that degree of selflessness is just normal.
I’ve had many military role models, like my dad and now my younger brother, to show me the value of service and how to put others before yourself.
Although the military has greatly impacted my life, I don’t spend nearly enough time thanking the people who are a part of it.
So, a special, heartfelt thank you to all who have served or who are currently serving.
I hope on Monday you feel appreciated by the countless people you’ve impacted, and know there are many more out there than would ever be able thank you.
-Kayleen Petrovia is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.
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