Dear American Veteran,
There have been very few people in my half a century of life who have been worthy of the title “hero”, as that word tends to be overused a bit and I aspire to be “impeccable” with my words. If I don’t mean it, I won’t say it, and “hero” must truly be earned. Anyone who chooses a path that involves walking out the door each day not knowing if they’ll be coming home? Now that would be a hero!
I have long been thankful that I wasn’t born a man, and have prayed incessantly for the men I’ve known and loved. Generally speaking, men are birthed to an existence wherein everything is expected of them. The entire weight of everyone’s world, including the weight of their own, is laden upon their shoulders from the cradle to the actual grave. Whereas, generally speaking, American women have choices. Society now allows us to be whoever we choose to be. Go to college, don’t go to college. Get married, don’t get married. Be a full-time wife and mother, opt to have a career, or maybe do a little of both. We aren’t “expected” to be anything other than what we were created for, and yes there’s a double standard.
Perhaps one of the best things I’ve ever heard in my life is Angelina Jolie’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award acceptance speech:
I have never understood why some people are lucky enough to be born with the chance that I had, to have this path in life, and why across the world there’s a woman just like me, with the same ability, and the same desires, same work ethic and love for her family … only she sits in a refugee camp, and she has NO voice. She worries about what her children will eat, how to keep them safe, and if they’ll EVER be allowed to return home. I don’t know why this is my life, and that’s hers.
I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been handed some pretty rough cards as of late, but guess what? So have we all! Meanwhile, I do have too many options to count as a blessed and extremely privileged woman. Though my future may not be what I was planning 81 days ago, it can still be anything I choose, because you signed up to pay in part for my American dream!
It’s Veteran’s Day 2019, and some of us don’t take our freedom for granted. As a woman who’s often been chastised for my antiquated views on gender roles, today is especially important. I’m an American woman in my American home with an American voice bought and paid for by an American soldier. Please know that you are held in the absolute highest regard on not just this, but every day. Indeed, you have lived “a life of use to others”, and indeed YOU ARE MY HERO!
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