I've never had to do any of those things because there are men and women, many who are far younger and all of whom are far braver, than myself have chosen to take my place. They've chosen to put on a uniform that makes them a target for every madman and dictator on earth. They've chosen to put themselves in harms way, to accept that the may never return home to their kids, spouses, and friends, because they heard the call of duty to my country and were brave enough to say "yes" to that call. They have chosen to put the needs of the many above their own needs and to defend their country and its way of life knowing that it may cost them their own lives.
I've often asked myself if I could wear the uniform and, I have to say, I don't know that I could. Could I willingly charge into certain death to protect an ideal that I may not always understand or even agree with? Could I be the loyal battlefield comrade, the leader, the one who makes a life or death decision if even only for myself? No, I don't think I could. I'm simply not that brave. I don't have that much guts.
I don't always agree with the actions our government or our military take but I *always* support those who answered the call. Because of them, I don't have to put my life on the line every day or wonder if I will see my family again. Because of them, I don't have to test my courage and find it lacking and I don't have to wonder if my country, my home, is safe. I don't have to worry because they have chosen to worry for me. They have chosen to take my place.
For that, brave men and women, I say "thank you" from the bottom of my heart. My gratitude goes to you as does my admiration and support. You are who I can hope to be. You show the best our country has and you are appreciated.