I come from a family that strongly believes in service to our country. My father was a 21 year United States Army veteran during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, one of my Uncles who served in the Army was killed in Italy during WWII, another Uncle was a Marine and fought at the Battle of Peleliu during the same war, my cousin made a career as a U.S. Air Force service member, and my nephew is proudly currently serving in the Army at Ft. Drum.
When I enlisted in the Army in 1982, it was an easy decision to carry on the proud family tradition of military service. At the time I joined, Rambo had just been released at the theater, and from that moment, I was gung ho to “Be All You Can Be”. Having the GI Bill college money wasn’t bad either. I volunteered for airborne training and was eventually a part of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Ft. Bragg, NC. I felt an enormous sense of pride that I was part of our family’s commitment to Duty, Honor and Country.
There are so many veterans and currently serving service members who have done more, and sacrificed more, in far more difficult situations than me. Attention and appreciation should be directed to them, especially those who have and continue to sacrifice to give us the freedoms we enjoy. Although I am a veteran I don’t like to bring attention to myself, but because I am a veteran I appreciate all the more the sacrifices made by so many and understand the debt owed to them.
Not to be forgotten are the families who offered their sons and daughters in defense of our county. There are some never to see them return. I can’t imagine the tremendous sense of loss my grandparents must have felt when told that their son had been killed in Italy. It is yet one more reason why it is so important to me to remember those who served and sacrificed, and to teach our younger generations the significance of what veterans contributed to this country and how those contributions impact them and their fellow citizens on a daily basis.
Too often, we don’t take the time to understand and appreciate the opportunities afforded to us, and why we Americans have the freedoms that we have. Holidays like Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day provide great teaching moments so that our children know the importance of demonstrating our appreciation by flying the flag, standing up for the National Anthem, thanking veterans and supporting these honorable individuals in other ways.
To all my fellow veterans, thank you for your service.
Thomas M. Crawford, Partner
IL | Chicago Office