Why I am Thankful for American Veterans

March 6, 2017
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Dear Veteran,

My name is Justin Paddock, and I am writing to express thanks and gratitude for risking your life to make mine better. During this past week, I watched the Honor Flight movie and learned about the Honor Flight in Wisconsin. As an 18-year-old attending Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Wisconsin, I forget that others have endured hardships in their lives that do not compare to mine and that they have sacrificed everything to improve the lives of people they do not even know. Learning about this philanthropic gesture to veterans gave me a new perspective on our country, and I feel it is necessary to do whatever I can to play a role in it. Writing this letter does not compare to your service, but it is the least I can do to display my appreciation for your service.

I am currently a senior in high school, and it is terrifying to think that when you were in my shoes, it was likely you got drafted. Yet, the sacrifice you made allows me to sit comfortably at home, learn without limits, and participate in activities. I cannot even imagine an alternative way of living, and I can thank you for this luxury. The opportunities I have to flourish in school, sports, and other activities could not happen without your service. Without people like you, there is no doubt that the lives of Americans would be different. Thank you for preserving our freedom and giving up everything to do so.

Beginning the transition from high school to college is already difficult, as I know I will miss my family while I start to go out on my own. However, that is not even close to what you and your family went through while you served. I will just be an hour from home, communicating with my family members via texting and phone calls. You trained and fought far from home, possibly even overseas. You probably could not get in touch with your family more than twice a month. For that sacrifice, I will be forever grateful. In addition to giving up all your present opportunities, you gave up spending time with your loved ones for the good of our country today.

Your sacrifice will always play a role in my life. Thank you for your service.

Justin Paddock

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