While cleaning my room a while back, I came across my journal. I’d like to share an entry dated June 6, 2012:
“Today in history class we watched the end of 'Saving Private Ryan.' Private Ryan was standing in front of the grave of a man, Captain Miller, who died trying to bring Ryan home.
"Captain Miller’s final words to Ryan were 'Earn this.' As I left history class my teacher, Mrs. Fray, repeated those words to us. They really hit home. And they got me thinking that we should all 'earn this.' We should earn our right to live in this beautiful country. Earn our right to have the freedom that men and women die to save by being the best we can be, doing what’s right, and helping our community.
"People have always given their lives to causes that they believe in, but still I find the courage of our service men and women remarkable. They fight to defend our country so nameless kids can go to school, learn, and live in a land of freedom. They leave behind their families and friends so that nameless kids never have to experience the horrors of places that do not have our freedoms.
"I hope all veterans of all wars know how much their sacrifice means to us. I pray that those wounded in battle will find a speedy recovery. I pray that those who lost their lives will be with God, and I pray that comfort is brought to all families that lost loved ones while serving our nation.
"I think that it is fitting that I am writing this on the 68th anniversary of D-Day. We can never repay nor thank enough those who participated in that day or any military event. But we should try. At the moment I am not sure what I can do, but I want all of them to know how much they mean to me. Perhaps a simple shake of the hand or a card would do.
"I often wonder what my life would be like if men had not been willing to die at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Normandy, or any of the other countless battles where my freedom was defended? I don’t know, but I do know that I am incredibly grateful for each and every one of those men and women.”
These thoughts have been in my heart for some time; however, it was not until I saw the end of a World War II movie in history class that I felt the need to record them on paper.
So, in an attempt to “earn this,” I thank you, our military men and women whether active or retired for everything you have done. I appreciate it more that you will ever know.