SSGT David G Smith

My big brother was always my protector.  When I wanted to run away as a little kid, he didn’t let me leave by myself and insisted that he go with me.  When I was picked on at school, he didn’t hesitate to stand up for me.  As an adult when faced with tough calls or decisions he always guides me honestly, even when it’s not something I want to hear, because he wants to help protect me from regret.  He protected me from pain, fear, regret, and embarrassment but, most of all, he protected my freedom and for that I will always be grateful.

Typical daily life might seem agitating to us, like a burden.  Maybe we had a bad day.  Maybe no one noticed something we did today or gave us the “pat on the back” we wanted.  Maybe we didn’t get to go to that concert/restaurant/party or we missed our favorite show because we got stuck in traffic.  But at least for one day, we should all try to reflect on our daily struggles compared to the struggles of the soldiers who are all our Big Brothers/Sisters.

Everyone “supports” the soldiers.  But do you really understand the sacrifice?

Imagine this: no family (not your kids/husband/mom/pet) to come home to everyday; no more “Kate Spade” or “Coach” or “Brooks Brothers,” (no one cares what you wear when you’re at war or how big your wardrobe is or how much you own); go ahead and give up your phone/facebook/email/twitter/blog, because you’re not the only one who wants to talk to a loved one and there’s limited phone/internet access; birthday? you’re surrounded by your friends at war, yes, but go ahead and give up that ice cream cake and dinner/drinks out with friends and say good-bye to spending it with your family; and let’s not even talk about the holidays…everyone wants to go home for R&R during the holidays- your chair will sit empty during Thanksgiving & Christmas; and that’s just from being away from home, not the war itself.


Uncle Craig, Navy Commander

Luckily I was present, here.  But I do know this hurt, because nothing could replace our empty chair at our holidays.  Or running to the phone every time it rings because it might be him calling.  Or hesitating to take family pictures because you know that no matter what, that picture won’t be complete without him in it, and on…

I don’t want you to feel sad, but I hope that you see the real sacrifice that soldiers make to protect us & how it hits home.  It’s not just about being shipped away to another country, it’s about personal sacrifice they make so that you can safely spend time with your family.

We should all be grateful for our “Big Brothers/Sisters.”  Tell them you’re proud of them.  Even if you don’t know who they are at all, they are your Big Brothers/Sisters and your support helps get them through.

My big brother is my hero.  I admire him more than anyone.  And I feel blessed that he’s back home, the chair is now filled and the family photos complete again.  But I thank God that he came home.  Some…did not.

Thank you, Veterans, who made that sacrifice for ME.  It does not go unnoticed in my heart.