Veterans’ Day is the day to honor all men and women who have served in the military services of our nation. Those who are living usually prefer for us to remember those who made the last sacrifice and died in service to their country. I can understand why they would feel this way, but I prefer to honor all those who have stood and who currently stand between my home and family and those who seek to destroy our liberties. Thank you, one and all!
This year I choose to honor a veteran who has suffered at the hands of a foreign government, a government that claims to be our friend but often acts like an enemy. The government I speak of is Mexico.
Eight months ago on March 31, 2014, honorably-released after four years of service Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi (Tah-mor-EE-si) made a wrong turn on a freeway in California and found himself headed into a port of entry at Tijuana. He could find no way back into the United States. He was imprisoned in Mexico for committing a federal crime: possession of weapons restricted for use by the Army. He was carrying a rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The loaded guns concerned Mexican authorities, particularly since Mexico tightened its border to stop the flow of US weapons to drug cartels.
The President of the United States would not do anything to help Sgt. Tahmooressi, but members of Congress from both Republican and Democrat parties held talks with authorities in Mexico in an effort to free the retired Marine. Mexican authorities would not be influenced by politics and put the matter in the court system.
On Friday, October 31, 2014, after 214 days in prison, a judge in Mexico ordered the release of 26-year-old Sgt. Tahmooressi. The judge ordered Sgt. Tahmooressi to be freed because of his mental state but made no further ruling. The Afghanistan veteran has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sgt. Tahmooressi’s attorney, Fernando Benitez, argued that the veteran “carries loaded guns with him because his weapons, which were bought legally in the U.S., make him feel safer. He added that the veteran is often distracted, which could have contributed to him becoming lost.” He also argued for the veteran’s release “because Mexico has no experience in treating combat-related PTSD, even in its own soldiers.”
Thousands, if not millions, of Americans prayed for Sgt. Tahmooressi’s release and celebrated his release. Most Americans are happy to have him home. I know that his mother, family, and friends will be relieved to see him once again.
We see life through our own experiences. Those who have served in the military know what is involved in defending our nation. Their wives, children, and other family members recognize their own sacrifices and see the effects of the service on their loved ones, but they cannot truly understand without actually experiencing it. Those who have never served in the military or sent their loved ones into harm’s way do not and cannot understand it at all.
When my son served in the Air Force I began to understand the sacrifices made by family members as well as service men and women. My son left when his daughter was an infant. Even though he was gone only a few months, he came home a stranger to the baby who had already bonded with her mother. He worked really hard to develop a relationship with his daughter, and they have become close over the last seven plus years.
Not all service men and women are so fortunate. My husband’s uncle went into World War II and left a young daughter at home. He was gone for four years and was never able to span the breach with his daughter. They struggled with their relationship for many years, maybe until the day he died.
I appreciate this day to honor the veterans of our great nation – past, present, and future. It is only fitting that we recognize their service and show appreciation to them for it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! May God’s choicest blessings be upon you and your loved ones! May God bless this great nation and help us to maintain our liberties!