I want to thank the men and women who have raised their right hands and swore an oath to protect and defend our Constitution and this great country we call home. I want you to know that you have made and continue to make a difference.
There are many who have served all around the world upholding that oath they took when they joined the military. I understand by my conversations with current and prior service members that many are struggling with what has happened with the sudden pull out of Afghanistan and all that happened since that withdrawal started. Reflecting on this withdrawal many are wondering if their service and their sacrifice and the loss of fellow service members to death and injury made any difference at all. I want to especially say to those who have served in Afghanistan at any point in the last 20 years that you have made a difference because of your service. Your service was not in vain. Here is how you made a difference:
You made a difference because you served with honor, integrity and determination to carry out the mission you were assigned.
You made a difference to your family because you have shown them by volunteering to serve that you believed in something larger than yourself. You taught them the importance of commitment and keeping your word and honoring your oath. You taught your children what it means to serve with honor and dignity even at the sacrifice of being away from them.
You made a difference in the lives of the service men and women you served with. As you did your job you showed them their importance to you because you were willing to stand side by side and face the challenges of battle and face the enemy with courage and determination. You made a difference in their lives because you saw their value not because of the color of their skin but because they were your fellow service members and you were in the fight together.
You made a difference in the lives of our allies as you fought side by side and supported one another even though you wore a different uniform and lived in a different country. They knew they could count on you because that is the kind of person you are.
You made a difference in the lives of the Afghans as some of them fought beside you and as others observed your service in their country. They stood in wonder amazed that you would leave the safety of your country and come and fight to protect them in their country even though you did not know them. They were not used to seeing that kind of service but you showed it to them.
You made a difference in the lives of the enemy because they found out that you would not back down in the face of danger and you would not give in to the fear they tried to instill in you. They came to realize why you are considered a part of the greatest military on the planet.
You made a difference in the lives of the children you encountered as they saw, many for the first time, what a true hero looks like. You showed them they had value and were important simply because they existed.
You made a difference in the lives of the Afghan women you encountered when you treated them as people of worth and as equals and not as property to be used and abused and then discarded. You taught them that their lives mattered.
And you made a difference in my life even though I have only met a very few of you. You made a difference to me because you put on the uniform, took the oath, trained, and stood guard on behalf of me and my family. You have kept us safe here at home while you face the enemy on their ground. You kept the enemy away from the American shores and we are all safer here because you went there.
I can only imagine what those of you who served in Afghanistan may be feeling right now but I want you to know that this American thanks you for your service and I want you to know that I pray for you and that no matter what you may hear otherwise you have made a difference!
Thank you for your service!
Jimmy Allen, sjc – A Grateful American!