We are grateful for your strength because you are capable of all kinds of things: discipline, distance, teamwork, and loyalty that most Americans lust after. You've seen and done incredible things. You serve and labor while most of us go about our ordinary days, unaware of your sacrifice. We are in awe of your strength.
But we are also grateful for your vulnerability because you tell stories that widen our world: our ethics, our imaginations, our politics, and our faith. You've seen and done incredible things. And then you come home, thank God, to a culture that does not know how to receive your emotions and stories well. You come home to the economy and land and people you defended and face unemployment because we don't know how to translate and apply your valuable skills...even though you do. We say dumb things like, "Wow. Did you kill anyone over there?" and nod as though we understand the complexities of your darkest moments.
So thank you for your strength and thank you for your vulnerability. Keep leading. Keep telling your stories. Keep articulating your needs and widening our world and challenging us to do a better job supporting you. Because you deserve the very best.