Whether it was Four Years,
or Twenty-Four…

When you don’t hear ‘Thank You’ nearly enough, it’s still okay. I know you didn’t do it for the ‘Thank You’s’ anyway.
When you aren’t recognized for every single sacrifice you made, it’s still okay. I know you didn’t do it for the recognition.
And when what you’ve done isn’t given the honor and respect it has earned, it’s still okay.

Because I know why you really did it.

You did it because you respect others.
You did it because you honor your country.
You did it because sacrificing for others means more to you than serving yourself.


And whether it was for four years or twenty-four…


The long process of MEPS. The rigorous months of boot camp.
Being sent to the opposite coast, the desert, a desk, the jungle, a submarine, a clinic, a carrier…
Spending 15 hours on a Search and Rescue mission in the frigidly cold night
or 10 months out in the middle of the ocean…

Thank you for giving up relaxed, every day living to go and do what less than 0.5% of the population is willing to go and do.
Thank you for assuming a high level of self-discipline, and thank you for understanding why it is important. Thank you for respecting authority, both that above you and that which you earn. Thank you for upholding yourself to a strict set of standards. Thank you for giving your family security, even while you are away.Thank you for fighting against those who seek to bring harm. Thank you for being the reason we can sleep in peace all night long. Thank you for keeping the watch. Thank you for honoring our flag because of what it has always truly symbolized. Thank you for your courage to stand when everything around you says to run. Thank you for living with loss because you understand the greater good has gained. Thank you for your proven character.


You willingly accepted the pain.
You willingly shouldered the heartache.
You willingly faced the fears.


And for that, you can always carry the pride.


You’ve made an irreplaceable difference.

I hope you never forget that the heart of your nation is
forever indebted to and truly grateful for your selflessness.

Thank you.


Niel van Niekerk


What are your thoughts on this?


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