In 1999, the United States Congress designated the month of May as Military Appreciation Month to give communities across the nation the opportunity to show their thanks to the men and women who serve in all branches of the United States military.
Navarre Press takes this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all who have served past and present, for your service and for the many sacrifices you have made to protect our nation.
Those sacrifices have included over the last decade or so monthslong deployments, missing your child or spouse’s birthday, or maybe even the birth of your child. You may have missed out on watching your children’s football games or beauty pageants and many other holidays or special dates. And while it was difficult, you did it anyway, knowing that millions of us were counting on you to keep us safe. Some of your friends may have given the ultimate sacrifice of their life, something we could never put a price on, and a debt we could never repay.
Earlier this week, a combat controller, Tech. Sgt. Sean Harvell lost his life in California in a water accident. He had served our country so bravely and heroically that he was awarded two Silver Stars, something only seven others have accomplished since 9-11. Reading the citations for his awards on page 3B of this issue make all of us incredibly proud of him. He exposed himself to heavy enemy fire just feet away from him while wounded, to call in air strikes, saving lives while doing it.
His family is grieving heavily. For they have now lost two sons. Sean’s brother Andy was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011. At Andy’s funeral, Sean said, “As an older brother, I looked up to him. As Andy always said, ‘victory or Valhalla.’ See you in Valhalla, brother.”
This is only one example of the sacrifices made by the 1.4 million people serving in the U.S. armed forces. The sacrifices are real, the bullets are real and yet in those darkest moments of war the human spirit takes over and they cling to their training and perform the jobs for which they were sent. And for some, the families must cling to the spirit of the one they lost and continue to do their job at home.
Serving isn’t for everyone, to be sure. Just as we rely on them to do their jobs, we at home must do our part to help the families left behind, keep their communities going and growing so when they return the economy is healthy, the neighborhoods are thriving and they feel our support behind them.
During the month of May, take time to thank a service member, buy their cup of coffee, mow your neighbor’s grass if the spouse is deployed; and when you shake their hand, let them know you genuinely appreciate them as they continually put it all on the line for us.