You are a keeper of peace, protector of strangers. You know fear and pain and the pervasiveness of dust.
I am an average American mother of three.
I have only seen movies of you on the front line, in documentaries of war, in headlines and radio blips. I am fully sheltered from the deep, dark difficulty of your work.
But please hear me. I am no less grateful.
Independence means I can take my girls to the grocery store whenever I want. Whenever I need. It means I don’t have to be afraid of a car bomb on the way.
Safety means I can live outside a small town in the country, and I don’t have to worry about raids. No one is killing my chickens for meat, or breaking into my garden for food.
Freedom means I can go into public with my head uncovered and my arms exposed. It allows me to write and speak and call and talk without worry of repercussion.
Pride means having a quiet grace when speaking to those from other places, knowing my position of privilege.
Being American means I can teach my daughters about Faith. About mathematics. About anything they want to know.
The 4th of July means barbeque and beaches and red solo cups, but I’m no fool. These simple things are available because of you. And the man before you. And the one behind you.
To all of you far from home, standing up for a way of life you’re no longer actively able to take part of, I say a strong and quiet word of thanks. It isn’t much, considering all you’ve done.
But it’s what I have to give.
Thank you for your service.
Thank you for you.