Saturday, September 24, 2016

Appreciation For Those Who Serve

There are many people in various professions who are under-paid and under-appreciated, and I would just like to express my sincere gratitude to all the wonderful men and women who work in these careers, not for fame and fortune, but because they love being of service and love their jobs.

I’d like to make it clear that there are good and bad people in all occupations, but there are so many more good than not.  The problem is that we just don’t hear about them, especially in the media.  The majority of the media loves to broadcast mostly the negative to the point that they almost glorify and make celebrities out of those who make really horrible choices in their lives.  We rarely, if ever, hear about those who are making a huge difference in the lives of humanity.  Yet each of us can acknowledge and reward those who are making a magnificent difference, not only in the lives of others, but in our own lives as well.

The profession I would first like to recognize is teachers.  When I first started working as a substitute teacher in the schools, I had an awakening to what exactly teachers face in today’s day and age.  It made me appreciate teachers that much more because of what they are trying to do for our children.  Most all teachers are very hard working, and they not only care about your children’s education, but they love and care about your children as well.  Contrary to the way they’re portrayed, they do not just work the hours of eight to three and have all this time off.  Most teachers come in early and stay late, they take work home with them in the evenings and on weekends, they work during their time off, and most even work on their vacations.  Your children spend at least seven or eight hours a day with these wonderful men and women and yet many take them for granted. 

Another profession is law enforcement officers.  These brave men and women literally put their lives on the line every time they go to work never knowing if they will make it home to their families that evening.  They face some of the most volatile situations and sometimes they have to see horrible and gruesome scenes that no one should have to see.  When responding to a call, they never know what they’re going to face.  When it comes to their safety or the safety of others, they literally have a split second to decide if someone is going to pull a gun on them knowing that they could be taking someone’s life whether there’s a gun involved or not.  The media focuses on the ‘bad’ cops with regard to shootings, but no one mentions how many times officers are shot at and how many are injured or killed. 

Next come firefighters, EMT’s, and other first responders.  These are also brave men and women who never know what they’re going to face or whether they’ll make it home at the end of the day.  They save homes, people, animals, and property at the risk of their own lives.  Many volunteer their services and are not paid with an income or benefits.  They also have to see some of the most horrific scenes that no one should ever have to see. 

Our military personnel also deserve a special mention (including the National Guard).  I don’t support war, and it should always be an absolute last resort, but I will totally stand up for our military personnel.  They go into situations, mostly in other countries, where they know they will be killing countless lives, even though society says it’s justified.  They also put their lives on the line to save others, never knowing if they themselves will be alive at the end of the day.  They, too, see things no one should ever see.  Many come back home and are treated horribly, especially when it comes to taking care of their physical and mental health because of the war.

There are many, many others, and you can add your own to this list.  To these brave men and women, I would like to say thank you, I love you, and I appreciate you.  Your service to humanity is not in vain.  You’ve touched and even saved countless lives, and you’ve made a tremendous difference in our world. 

So the next time you see any of these amazing people, please take the time to thank them.  Send them notes of gratitude and gifts from your heart, and let them know that their service and their lives do matter.

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing.  It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”  Voltaire 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper September 23, 2016.

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