We are all here because America is the land where we believe, as the Founding Fathers wrote, that "we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights and among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That is the definition of America that each generation is challenged to understand, to advance, to make real.
A soldier preparing to deploy trains intensely. Coming home is a different story. Veterans who've spent months, perhaps years, bonded to their peers by a shared mission often return to find themselves alienated from their loved ones and their homeland and longing for the camaraderie and urgency of deployment.
Between the uncertainties, the separation from family and friends, and the very real threat of imminent danger, the day-to-day challenges facing military servicemembers and their families are unparalleled. And yet, despite the stress levels, men and women continue to volunteer to serve; a decision that is usually supported by their families. Are they like superheroes, preternaturally disposed to keep calm and carry on? Or do they know some tricks and secrets to cope with the constant anxiety and the high-stress situations?
How can you really know how your coworker's or neighbor's transition home is going if you don't ask? It doesn't take much to start a conversation that could lead to a friendship that might change your life -- a relationship that could be of tremendous value to someone who has sacrificed so much for all of us.