Every May 1, across all branches of The United States military, Americans honor the sacrifices of the combat wounded, ill and dying  on Silver Star Service Banner Day.   [courtesy National Day of Calendar]

I’ve been involved with the military a long time and this is a new one on me though the calendar says this day was established in 1917. Maybe I’m not as observant as I think I am. If there is a blue star banner hanging in someone’s window that means they have a family member that is currently in active service to our country, the United States. If there is a similar colored flag with a gold star that means the military member died while  in service to our country. And today I am learning that the silver star banner means the service member came home from combat wounded or ill.

My personal belief is that anyone who has been in combat comes home wounded. They might have escaped a visible wound from a gun or shrapnel, but they will certainly have some emotional wounds, or invisible trauma it’s hard to talk about. What am I referring to? Pick any movie about war to watch and put yourself in those young men’s shoes. Or watch the evening news when it shows a war-torn town in Syria with people running scared and possibly bloody. Wouldn’t experiencing something like that first hand affect you. If you think it wouldn’t you are fooling yourself.

Our combat veterans and the 20 people behind the scenes it takes to support one man on the front make it possible for the rest of us to walk around “free” doing what we want with our lives. (And yes I know this now applies to women also.) I don’t think citizens of the U.S. who have not had first hand experience with a military service member realize that freedom is not free. Someone’s son or daughter has made it possible with their service and/or sacrifice. 

I hope everyone will take a minute today to think about our military members, current and past, and be thankful there are those that give of themselves so we can be the country that we are and enjoy the freedoms we have. And if you happen to see a Silver Star Banner know that someone is suffering with a visible or invisible wound.