November is a month of reflection. On the 11th of the month we remember and honour our military heroes. We give gratitude for their sacrifices and we commit, once again, to always remember. My father was a decorated officer in the Bulgarian Army fighting in World War II for the Allied Forces. I reflect on what it must have been like to be on a front line at the age of 18. How that experience inevitably changes one’s perspective of life and of the world. For the men and women who have and do serve in foreign countries, their home life is put on hold while they are exposed to life altering experiences. They come home different, changed by those experiences.
I began to understand this as a teenager. I was watching a particularly moving episode of the popular television series M*A*S*H*. My father hated the show because he felt it trivialized and made fun of the military. He never understood that my watching the show was, in part, an attempt to understand him better. In this particular episode the character of BJ, angry and drunk, hits his best friend, Hawkeye. He says, “I’ve been here (Korea) a lifetime, my little girl’s lifetime. Even if I go home tomorrow, I will never get that back.” Never before did I understand the depth of sacrifice a soldier, and their whole family, make to defend a way of life. To all who have been in harms way, and given up their home life to protect the freedoms that we all now enjoy, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You.