In honor of Veteran’s Day, I thought it would be nice to write a mahalo to our veterans. Especially in the month of November, people tend to focus more on gratitude. In Hawaii, the word for thank you is “mahalo” and the concept of mahalo is to be grateful in all things, both in good and bad circumstances.
Both on the good and the bad days, mahalo is an attitude of appreciation. It is living in thanksgiving daily, not just on one day or one month of the year.
In July I wrote some articles about my views on patriotism and they still ring true that we should have a sense of gratitude, pride, and reverence for our country and those serving, not just on the fourth of July, but everyday. Being grateful becomes a way of life, not just something that’s nice to think about every now and then.
I have a lot of military veterans in my life, and I am deeply grateful for their service. I can’t imagine the things they’ve gone through, and I won’t ever be able to repay them, but I do feel they deserve the recognition and our mahalo. Especially on this day, the veteran I think of the most is the one who is currently serving. My little brother, a marine who has the mouth of a sailor, the heart of dragon, and the kindness of a good friend, is deployed, and this is his second time out in the Middle East.
As my thoughts are directed towards him and the other courageous men and women currently serving and who have served, I want to express my deepest mahalo to them and hope that this list sheds a little more light on the sacrifice they make for our freedom and safety. I also hope that my mahalo can help us, those who aren’t veterans, to change some things in our own lives to align more with the concept of mahalo and live in this attitude of gratitude, not just today, but everyday.
To the veterans:
Mahalo for being physically prepared; for training, keeping your bodies to the physical competence that you do in order to serve to the best of your ability. I know the training you go through is rigorous, intense, and literally breaking, but you do it because you know and understand your purpose as a defender.
Mahalo for being mentally prepared; for training, learning, and becoming the best and most skilled at your assigned tasks.
Mahalo for your great sacrifice in leaving your loved ones behind — it breaks my heart thinking about all the children and significant others who wait eagerly for their loved ones, praying constantly for their safety, and always looking forward to the day they return.
Mahalo for the example you set in public, both in and out of uniform.
Mahalo for the knowledge you share with us, especially those who have served. I know you don’t share all the details of the wars you’ve seen–and that’s ok, because I know many of you may suffer from PTSD, but mahalo for sharing your stories and helping us see a bigger picture.
Mahalo for seeking help, especially those who do suffer from PTSD. We love our veterans and we appreciate what you do, and it always saddens me to know that there are so many men and women who take their lives when things feel so overwhelming.
Mahalo for serving.
Being raised around a military environment, and having veterans in my family, I have numerous stories of men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. With recent events of hatred, disrespect, and bigotry towards the American flag or towards government leaders, I think now is a good time to just pause and reflect on the sacrifices that have been made, and how you are contributing or can contribute to this narrative.
We are so blessed to live in a country where we enjoy the freedoms we do. This Veteran’s Day, take the time to appreciate and mahalo Ke Akua, give thanks to God, for the goodness in our daily lives and the bravery and sacrifice of those who seek to protect it.
Mahalo to our veterans, and Happy Veterans Day!