In the course of my work with the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, I have interviewed a number of active-duty and retired Sailors and Marines. I have also talked with many military wives about how they held it together when their spouses were serving, either at home or deployed. And I have talked with Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society visiting nurses who make housecalls to help military families with regular (but still stressful) things like new babies, or with extraordinary circumstances, like combat-injured veterans who have to come home and, with their families, try to create a completely new life. I’ve also talked with Society staff members and volunteers who work with all of these folks every day, to help them when they need help. And I am in awe of all of them. My family is not military (although my dad always talks about his reserve duties, they were brief and uneventful and took place stateside) and until my conversations on behalf of the Society, I had little insight into the struggles and sacrifices of these tough men, women, and kids, except what I saw on the news.

So today, on Veterans Day, I am thankful for those who have steadfastly served our country, and for all those who support them–as spouses, as kids, as doctors and nurses, as volunteers, and as anyone who does whatever it takes to help. I salute you all.