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It is never an easy but always a brave decision to join the U.S. Military. Joining either of the five branches consisting of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force is much more than a short term commitment to the great nation that these branches protect. The brave men and women willing to sacrifice for their country commit to it for a life time. Especially during such hard times with multiple oversees destinations that require the American armed forces to protect the freedom of the people living in these countries.

Many people forget that to serve and protect means much more than putting one’s physical health in danger. In many cases the men and women serving are forced to leave their friends and family behind in order to protect their loved ones and others in need. This may include travelling unimaginable distances, lonely mornings and sleepless nights. It can take an emotional toll that requires just as much care as physical damage does. Therefore seeing these men and women as individuals, for whom exiting the U.S. Military can be just as big of a step as joining, is very important.

The veterans that have protected their country need to be put into a position in which they can build a new life outside of the U.S. Military. This requires the ongoing support of the people surrounding them. This includes not just friends and family members but society as a whole. These veterans striving to support their families as civilians, with a lifestyle they are used to, deserve the same amount of respect as members of the U.S. Military on active duty. Respect they earned during the time of sacrifices they willingly committed to, to not only protect their fellow soldiers but also their nation and people. It is something the men and women of the United States proudly do, because they understand the importance of freedom. A freedom not only for themselves, their family and children, but also for you, your children and future generations of our brave nation.

While it does not matter whether their new life is built as a chef at a restaurant, as a cattle farmer on a ranch or as an investment banker on wallstreet. The transition is difficult no matter what the choice is. So supporting the veterans of the United States Military should not just come as a courtesy but rather as the duty of everyone they have served. A duty that should not be taken lightly, just like freedom cannot be taken lightly.

So the next time you cross paths with a veteran, think about what they have done for you and your family. Think about how it could make this persons day to hear a simple “thank you” or to receive a hand shake in appreciation of their former body of work. It can mean the world to somebody to know that they are appreciated for what they have done.