Veteran’s Day. Armistice Day. Choose your title for these 24 hours where we honor those who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, guardsmen and women, and marines. Plus the family members they left behind. Sometimes forever.

Today, we pause to thank them. To remember them. And to share their stories with one another – at least the stories they were willing to tell.

In our family, we are grateful for the service of my dad. He left the farm right after high school to do his bit in WWII. Due to some paperwork mix-up, he got left behind when his buddies were sent overseas. He served his time in Virginia, instead. A clerk typist behind a desk. At one point, he did help guard German prisoners. But he said he felt more like a security guard  than a combatant. He was fortunate. And yet, he sacrificed. I’m sure my grandmother cried when he surprised her by walking into the kitchen one Christmas morning while she was frying ham. He had gotten an unexpected leave and took a long journey. The last few miles, he hitched a ride on the milk truck.

The sacrifice is real. No matter where you or your loved ones served, it cost you something. And so, on this Veteran’s Day, I join with others around the nation. We salute our flag, bow our heads, and say,

“On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service.”