To the soldier fighting for my freedom,

I only know of the tribulations of war through the films I’ve watched, the books I’ve read, and the anecdotes I’ve listened to. I will probably never experience the type of adversity you overcome on a regular basis. I will probably never wear dog tags and sleep thousands of miles away from my family and friends, unaware of the challenges tomorrow will bring. I will never look evil so closely in the eye and successfully destroy it, as you do so often. But, I will always be quick to help you when I can. I will always vote for leaders whom I feel will do his or her hardest to take care of you, and I will always be indebted to you for your sacrifices; for if not for your sacrifices, I might not be free.

So, thank you. Thank you for answering the call to defend our country’s freedom so promptly. Thank you for believing in our country’s greatness so intensely that you will wear its uniform and crush its enemies. Thank you for moments of triumph and celebration, for uniting the American people together by taking down some of its abhorred enemies. Thank you for your incontestable courage. I will never claim to encompass true valor because there is no greater bravery than the kind you exhibit each day. Thank you for deciding that our country’s safety is worth more than your own. Thank you for giving each child a future paved in freedom and opportunity. Thank you for your unparalleled allegiance to our union.

In a country where patriotism seems to be dwindling, it is especially exciting to see eager men and women seeking to enlist in our military. I will always salute these zealous people who feel a duty to defend our flag. Thank you for being the ones we turn to when tragedy strikes and thank you to the families you leave behind. Their bravery and sacrifices do not go unnoticed. Thank you for giving us such wonderful people whose strength I seek to emulate. Thank you for your undying patriotism — there are still Americans filled with fiery patriotism out there, and we consider you to be our heroes.

Finally, my hope for you is that you may, one day, come home to a country filled with more love and a world filled with more peace. I hope we at home will do all that we can to ensure you return to a place that helps meet your needs. I hope you can defeat the evils that seek to prevent peace from prospering so that war remains something of the past. I hope you come across people who will thank you at the grocery store or in line at the airport. Most importantly, I thank you for defending the Constitution, which ensures me the right to compose this right now. It is with your strength, valor, and sacrifice that I can take advantage of the opportunities this country promises to those who work for it.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 5:13