Thank You, Veterans

November 11 is Veterans Day in the United States. This day has been set aside to celebrate and honor those who have served in the military. To all veterans, I say one thing: Thank you for your service.

My father and one of my cousins are veterans (Army and Navy, respectively), so I guess you could say I have a soft spot for this brave group of men and women. Thankfully, my father and cousin were not injured during their time in the military. Unfortunately, many families of military personnel can’t say the same thing. To these injured men and women, and those who love and care for them, I say thank you for your sacrifice. You have not been forgotten.

To those veterans who have come home with invisible injuries, whether psychological or physical (hearing loss, TBI, etc.), I say remember that you are not invisible. There are people who have been where you are and who understand what you’re going through. Thank you for serving your country honorably. You are appreciated.

And now, I must mention one group that may not be as well known as veterans: the service dogs who assist many veterans each day. These dogs are amazing animals that assist with a range of disabilities, from physical to psychological. Some of them are trained by veterans either for other veterans. Some are trained by service dog programs. Some are trained by their owners, the people they will be helping.

photo of a Marine petting the service dog he has just received

Regardless of who does the training, these dogs serve an essential role in helping disabled veterans live as normal a life as possible. They help their human partners overcome challenges that would otherwise prevent them from working, going to the store, taking a walk, just doing the things most people take for granted.

photo of a man giving a hand signal to a service dog

So, while these dogs are not veterans, they serve many men and women who have served in the military. Some may think it silly or irreverent to mention on Veterans Day, but I say thank you to all the specially trained canines that help their veterans live life to the fullest possible. Lots of ear scratches and hugs for the selfless way you serve those who have selflessly served our country.

photo of a young golden retriever wearing a camouflage service dog vest

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