Reflecting on Veterans Day

When I was younger, Veterans Day was a day off from school.  Even though my father was an Officer in the military, I didn’t understand the significance of his job or the contribution that he was making to our country.  Maybe I didn’t “get it” because everyone around me was in the military.  Deployments were a way of life.  It actually felt strange for my dad to be home for more than nine consecutive months at a time.  I lived on military bases where bombs from field maneuvers shook our houses  throughout the day and night.  During major conflicts, I watched CNN for clues as to when my dad would be sent away. As a child you worry, but the worry is not the same, nor is your grasp of the gravity of the situation that your parent has volunteered to be in. 

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I began to understand what it means to serve your country as member of the United States Military. It means facing your greatest fears and boldly walking into the line of danger, when others are running away.  It means sacrificing the precious time that you have with your family, to ensure the safety of others.  It means dedicating your life to protecting the freedom that defines America. And in some cases, it means going away and not coming home. 

As I look back on this Veterans Day, I am overwhelmed with pride.  I am proud of the contributions made by the millions of Americans and their families who serve our country.  They are the unsung heroes whose sacrifices we take for granted.  But for their courage and honor, the America that we know and love would not exist.  From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.


Ciji Dodds

Miss International 2011


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