Honoring Bravery this Veterans Day

This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.  (Elmer Davis)

barn in field painted with american flag on the sideOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we celebrate the bravery of our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen – many of whom fought in far-off lands to preserve the freedoms of our great nation.

I have witnessed and continued to be inspired by the bravery of the men and women veterans who have transitioned to a career in farming. Those who farm know that farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Unpredictable weather, insect infestation, weeds, a pandemic, and unstable markets are exacerbated by the often invisible wounds experienced by our veterans. Moral and traumatic brain injuries, depression, and post-traumatic stress can take down the strongest of the strong, especially when farming. It often takes everything they have for these brave men and women to survive day-to-day, but they persevere. Every farmer veteran exhibits the same courage that prompted them to pledge their lives and service to our country. This courage propels them to find another purpose – the purpose of growing food for their families and communities.  It’s a bravery that transcends the battlefield. It’s a bravery that makes someone get out of bed in the morning to tend to animals and crops when all they want to do is stay in bed and mourn their wounds.

When the sun shines, however, and the harvest is bountiful, and the animals stay in their enclosures, the feelings of accomplishment and purpose abound. Dare I say, there is even JOY?

Thank you to all the veterans who have served this country bravely and selflessly. Thank you to all the veterans who have continued their mission of service by growing and raising food for their families and communities. We at Maine AgrAbility recognize that freedom isn’t free, and we are forever grateful for the price that many of you have paid.

barn set in mountain valley with staue of liberty painted on it.

And, happy 246th birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps!

Semper Fidelis,

Anne Devin, Colonel (ret) USMC