Many of us are grateful to simply be alive after what we put ourselves and our loved ones through while we were pursuing our addictions. Some of us are grateful because we're no longer living in a state of demoralization, in a constant state of gloom. Some of us are grateful to have our freedom, to not be behind bars for the stupid things we did while using.
And Memorial Day is yet another reason to be grateful. I had several family members, including my youngest daughter, who served in the military. And while none of them died while serving, all of their lives were impacted. My daughter, for example, receives 100% lifetime disability due to her service in Afghanistan during 2004. I'm just grateful they returned alive.
Today, something like one half of one percent of our citizens serves in the military, compared to around 12 percent during World War II. And one of the reasons for this is the government stopped the draft and began an all-volunteer military in 1973. Another reason for a smaller military is that technological advances in weapons require fewer soldiers. Thus we have a military that is not nearly as visible as it was two generations ago.
Even though they're not as visible we still must have gratitude for the freedoms our military has given us. We can vote. We can disagree. We can call our government officials names. We can demonstrate and protest. We can practice our beliefs - all things that many other countries don't have the freedom to do.
On this Memorial Day, we can remember to thank our military for protecting these freedoms.