I see you. You are more than a small face in a grainy photograph. You are more than the blue or gold star they hung in the window. You are more than the helmet peeking above the bushes. You are more than nimble fingers and agile eyes aiming and firing. You are more than bloody hands pressed against your comrade’s chest. You are more than the enemy’s target. You are more than the medal they pinned to your chest. You are more than a white cross in a cemetery. You are more than a name on a monument. You are more than a number in a history book.
You were a person.
You were a son, a sweetheart, a father, a friend. You were handsome – or maybe a bit homely. Maybe you were young. Maybe you wore gray at your temples and this wasn’t your first time “Over There,” but you had to make sure the job was finished this time. Maybe you flew planes. Maybe you fixed meals. Maybe you raised the flag at Iwo Jima, or maybe you spent the duration fighting battles so far on the outskirts you wondered if what you were doing even mattered.
You were a person, with a story. Because you lived your story in fighting, I can live mine in freedom. Thank you.

Although this post is directed towards those who fought during World War Two, the sentiment is equal for veterans of all wars, past and present. Thank you for your service!