How do you say "thank you" for something you can barely even understand? Oh, we think we know, that we understand what it's like to go to war but those who haven't can't, not completely. It's not just the old line of "being willing to die for your country"; it's about being willing to kill for it as well. It's about being scared and cold and hungry and bored and confused...always confused. The fighting is better than the waiting in a lot of ways. Short of quoting Kipling's Snarleyow, what can really be said?
Thank you to every man that takes up arms to protect our nation. To those who volunteer, to those who join in peacetime and find themselves suddenly at war, to those who were pulled unwillingly by a draft--we don't care why you went. It is enough that you did. Thank you. For those who never fired a shot, whose entire time was spent in "peace", for nevertheless making the sacrifice and facing the risks full on. Thank you. To every husband, wife, child, mother, father, sibling--to everyone who keeps the homefront while the others are away. To every medic, contractor, USO worker, and the million-and-one "civilians" who serve as well. To the children who will never know their grandfathers and fathers who gave sons. To those who keep their experiences secret and refuse to speak of those dark times and to those who speak freely and with pride. To all and every veteran, past, present, and unflinchingly future.