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Veterans Day means something more to this Lincoln parent

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This Veterans Day has a special meaning to me.  I will admit, like most Americans, Veterans Day was just another holiday to me.  Not really understanding the true meaning, it was a day off and another day for a sale.

My son, Mario, five years ago, enlisted in the Marine Corp and, until March 21 of this year, that all changed.

During the deployment, I learned that while there are many great organizations helping them, military families suffer alone. 

While most Americans mean well, life gets in the way.  Only one percent serves in the military so out of sight, out of mind; we just don’t think about it. It’s the family within the military that keeps it together; they truly are there for each other.

We are a war-wary country and most people don’t realize the cost financially, emotionally or physically.

My son’s unit, First Battalion Seventh Marines returned in October. While most of the families were ecstatic, off in the distance was the family of LCPL Duarte with an American flag and their son’s ashes waiting for Charlie Companies return.  Also were CPL Ivachan and LCPL Van Etten, both double amputees there with their new prosthetics walking and waiting for their return of their brothers.

Those were the physical wounds that could be seen but then there are unseen wounds.  As I looked in these young men’s eyes, you can see the pain of war had taken its toll on some of them. I worry about them.

So I ask America, how committed are you to those who have served you and let you live free and safe?

Show your appreciation. Buy a veteran a cup of coffee, drink, dinner; just do something! 

Freedom isn’t free and support for the troops goes beyond the yellow ribbon on the car.

Angelica Balderas, Lincoln