They go through hours, weeks and sometimes even months of the toughest training unfathomable to the ordinary civilian. They are taught not only basic physical skills, but they are put to the test emotionally as well. They have learned the qualities, morals and values that our nation was founded upon and that the military strives to uphold each and every day. They have become not just fellow members of the same branch of our armed forces, but they have become brothers and sisters in arms and comrades for a lifetime. After the training is done and they have earned their titles, they get orders to go to a base or camp which will become their new home for an unknown period of time.

Then one day, they get called into the office or the dreaded phone call, and are told they must go to war. It will soon be time to put their skills to the ultimate test. Sometimes they are given notice with plenty of time to prepare, while other times they must be ready as soon as within the next couple of days. The preparation can be a bit complex. They may experience anxiety, stress, fear, among many other emotions and feelings. As family members and friends to our men and women in uniform, it is important that, no matter what our own emotions and feelings about the matter are, we keep their morale up. I know it is cliché, but we must be strong for them. It is our duty to be there for them for whatever they may need. They are not just people we know; they are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandpas, grandmas, boyfriends, girlfriends and friends. Each and every man and woman individually in our armed forces is someone special to many people. It is up to us, the ones that love and care about them, to make sure they have everything they need not only emotionally, but physically as well.

After the morale boosting has commenced, it is time to make sure they are prepared with nothing but the best equipment. The military undoubtedly will make sure that they have the essentials they need to properly and safely execute their operations, but sometimes they need a little something extra. Maybe his or her duffle bag is a little worn, or maybe a new pair of boots is needed. Not knowing what they will be subjected to when they arrive at their overseas destination, it is difficult to buy them something that would be of tactical use, so just ask what they need. If you wish to get them something other than military tactical clothes, knives, eyewear, headwear, etc., you may want to think about military jewelry. If he or she is of the Catholic faith, buy him/her a necklace of the patron saint of his/her field. If he or she is of the Christian faith, you may consider buying a cross for him/her to keep along with the daily worn dog tags. To get a little more sentimental, give him/her something that belonged to a veteran family member to take along on this deployment.

Going to war is not easy for anyone involved. It is important to remember though, that no matter what happens, we are one nation, and we will stand united behind our men and women no matter what the future may bring.