It's not about the banks being closed, time off work or another holiday. It's a special day set aside for our veterans, but, like I've said before, every day should be Veterans Day.

How can we ever thank our service men and women enough for being courageous, strong and brave, so we don't have to be? How often do we actually reflect on all the lives lost so we can continue to have our freedoms? Hopefully it's not just on the one special day.

Our lives are flooded with so many other things besides the fact we are still a nation at war. I've not lost anyone to war and can't imagine the level of grief that would accompany that. As the country spends a seemingly endless amount of time debating about insurance, there are thousands of our military, in a strange land, wondering if they will even need insurance.

I'm just as guilty of getting too caught up in my own life and worries to remember the sacrifices that are being given for my happiness. I'm going to make a conscious effort, as I gather my family around me during this upcoming holiday season, to think of all of the families who will be missing someone at their dinner table.

I also need to remind myself, when engrossed in a pity party or whining, these worries are trivial compared to the anxieties of those serving our country, as well as their loved ones back home. It seems the war has gone on for so long now, it's taken a back burner to the days we all chanted "united we stand" as we continuously prayed for our military's safe return.

I'm sure as the grandchildren get older they're going to think their grandma is an emotional old fool. If I'm able to pass anything on to them, I hope it's patriotism. I want them to feel the heartfelt emotion that comes with saying the Pledge of Allegiance and to know all of the words to the "Star Spangled Banner." I want them to experience the tears that well up in your eyes while listening to taps being played in recognition of the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Sure I get on my soapbox every year around Veterans Day, but the gratefulness and gratitude is there all the time. I am proud to be the daughter of a World War II veteran and sister of a Vietnam veteran and feel fortunate they both came home. I'm so thankful to have had the chance to listen to Dads' stories of being a fighter pilot as over the years Dad would describe the flights, the bombings and the love he had for those who served beside him as well as shed tears for those who didn't come back home.

Happy Veterans Day Dad. Thank you for serving our country so proudly and for sharing with me so I could learn the true meaning of respect, loyalty and commitment.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at