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Today is Veterans Day. It is a day we give thanks to Veterans for their service to our country. As the owner of Smoky Mountain Jumphouse, I would like to get a little personal with all of you today.
As many of you may know, Smoky Mountain Jumphouse is a Veteran owned business. I served in the Army and deployed to Iraq. After my deployment I left the Army in 2009 and returned to Iraq as a civilian/contractor til the end of 2011.
When I returned home and someone found out I was a veteran, I would always get a big hug or a firm handshake and a thank you. At first, I will be honest, it was awkward. For me, I did the job I signed up to do so I didn't know how to respond to the gratitude that was being expressed to me. Over the years the awkwardness went away. I learned that people are truly appreciative of what I did while in uniform.
Over the last 6 years of being home, I have thought about what it means to be thanked for my service. I have thought about the friends that I lost over there, and those that I lost back home due to the invisible wounds of PTSD. I have talked with my brothers and sisters in uniform about our experiences. And knowing all that we know now, we would do it again in a heartbeat.
Today thank a veteran. Reach out and give them a hug, a handshake and thank them for their service. They may not hear it often and they may still be fighting an internal battle from their experiences. That moment of thanks and kindness may make a huge difference in their struggle But I also want you to thank us a different way.
Thank us by living the best life you can. Spend time with your family. Have a cook out with friends. Hug your kids. Read them a story. Make a new friend out of your neighbors. Do all of the things that make life amazing and worth living. Enjoy all of the freedoms that makes this country great.
By enjoying life, by living a good life, you remind us that our service was worth it. That is the only thanks I could ever ask for.