Web of Respect: It’s important to be mindful of military’s contributions in our lives, consider their various services

Web of Respect: It's important to be mindful of military's contributions in our lives, consider their various services

Tessa Collinson

When I tell people that I’m a little sister, they are often surprised. No one knows I have an older brother—specifically, one who is an active duty member in the military.

In the three and a half years since my brother, Will, joined the Navy, he has visited countless countries, and eventually achieved the rank of petty officer second class.

To most people, those words sound like something straight out of the evening news. Yet, the use of those terms in such has desensitized us to them. People skip over stories about those killed in action since they don’t learn anything that can create a connection with those affected. Many still know next to nothing about who those officers or their families are.

The success my brother had in the Navy wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t the smart, hard-working man I know and love. Yet he’s still my geeky, joke-cracking older brother; supportive of my endeavors and and my support.

But he’s also a human being with his own emotions; especially a love for his family. Over the holidays, he has a limited amount of leave to visit family. Because of this, he has to choose who he can visit based off a few different factors: visiting different parts of the family, how much time he can spend, and how stressful the trip will be. He wants to be around us more, yet he can’t because of his job.

A prime example is when Will was preparing to take one of the most important exams of his Naval career when he received news that our grandpa was in the hospital. His boss retorted and said that his job should be his absolute priority, even over family. A few days later, our grandfather passed and Will was furious that he couldn’t be there.

I’m not saying what my brother does isn’t important. Without people like Will, people who strive to protect this country, we would constantly fear for our lives. But members of the military do more than fight for our protection. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of every million on active service, about half also fulfill civilian roles like doctors and lawyers.

All I ask is that everyone be a little more mindful of what members of the military do for us. They sacrifice more than you may realize.