Today being Memorial Day has me thinking about others. Yes, I’m thinking about the men and women of the military, but I’m also thinking about the bigger picture of everyone else that we share this world with. This got me thinking about what does military vs. everyone else in the US look like?
Well, a 2016 article states that less than 10% of the US population was a veteran (approximately 20 million people) and another article shared that approximately 1.3 million people were in active duty in 2016. Those numbers don’t sound very big, but what they don’t talk about are the men, women and children who are immediately related to someone in the military (by blood, adoption or marriage). Data from 2015 says that over 5 million people were considered immediate family to active service people, so doing very generous math, that means that possibly one third of the US is related to someone who was or is in the military. And if you go beyond the immediate family circle that number grows again. And beyond that, even if you don’t have anyone in your family who is or was in the military, there’s a strong likelihood that you know someone who is or was in the military or someone related to someone in the military.
Since the draft ended in 1973, these men, women and their families have volunteered to stand up for each of us throughout the world. Representing us, protecting us, and standing in for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Just like we make choices each day, they chose to join the military, not knowing how they’ll make an impact or if they’ll be required to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Today as you honor and remember the men and women who have sacrificed for our country I encourage you to think about how respectful you are of that sacrifice. Are you working to build relationships with others and a future we can all be proud of or are you helping create a world that will require more men, women and families to make sacrifices for the rest of us?