Having served in the Navy, I'd like to send a sincere "Thanks" to everyone standing the watch, and all their families waiting at home. There is so much that soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen give up to serve their countries and it's a testement to the US that our force is wholly comprised of volunteers.
The military is far from a well-oiled machine on a daily basis. They are just people, many of them still teenagers. They make mistakes, they get angry, they want to quit. But they get up when it's still dark out in strange countries and dangerous places where people are firing weapons at them with extreme prejudice. They put on their uniforms. They stand the watch... and they do it for people they've never even met. When it comes to crunch time, they get the job done. Thanks for that.
Some things you might not have considered.
1. No communication. You don't always have email or phone service. Sometimes you can't use the phone even if it's there because the mission forbids it.
2. It's work. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No weekends, no holidays, no evenings off.
3. No choices. Haircut, clothes, food, schedule... All chosen for you. It's not a democracy.
4. Stress. Mental stress of missing family, comforts of home. Little things like 'a hot shower', peanut butter, or just some quiet time.
5. This isn't the movies, these people aren't all carved out of marble and they aren't all charming or provided the latest and greatest gear.
They are just like everyone you know.
It's a tough job and can never be fully repaid or appreciated unless you take the challenge.
So take a minute to thank the military. Take a moment to thank the men and women who gave their lives already and say some words of encouragement for those who are still on watch in whatever way you can. Even if you don't believe in what they do, they fight and die for your right to scream that fact from the mountain tops.
One day isn't enough, but it's a start.
I'd like to personally thank all my shipmates. Fair winds and following seas brothers and sisters.