A salute to those who serve

ISIS, Al Qaeda, beheadings, butchering of Christians and other religious minorities, the San Bernardino slaughter of innocent civilians, and turmoil throughout the world: This is what precipitated a 34-year-old woman who turned 35 during her Basic Training to enlist in the Army. You see, she wanted to make a difference, to stand for freedom and protect our homeland.

The story is quite similar to many of the enlisted servicemen and -women of today and in the past. Their commitment of placing their lives on the line and dedication to our country’s survival is paramount. Without this, we would never enjoy the freedoms that we have or the country that we all hold dear to our hearts.

While fulfilling their commitment, these military personnel have witnessed and experienced the brutality of mankind at its lowest level. Many have returned carrying the emotional (internal) and physical (external) scars of battles. Some have never returned home. Memories of them are etched deeply in the minds of their loved ones.

So, to all who are currently serving or have served in the past, or have given the ultimate sacrifice, God bless you! We, as a nation, can never thank you enough.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, our Independence Day, let all of us continue to keep in our thoughts and prayers our servicemen and -women. (The servicewoman in the article is my daughter, who enlisted in December 2015.)

If you have any questions, comments, reflections, or personal stories related to the subject of this article, please contact me at meaningfuldifferences@gmail.com.

Dan Paul is a retired school administrator. His monthly columns explore family and professional relationships.