This week there will be several restaurants offering awesome deals for veterans, there will be signs placed all over that read, “Thank you, veterans.”

Veterans Day is much more than a free meal or a statement of gratitude. At this point in time, to me, it seems as though Veterans Day is observed for everyone but veterans. Sounds a little ridiculous to you? I understand that it might.

The level of commitment, dedication, loyalty, duty and tenacity that is required of any armed service member is unfathomable until its required of you.

It is easy to watch movies about war or combat scenes. It is easy to say you know someone who is serving or is a veteran. But, very few, truly know what it is to be a veteran.

To be grateful to a veteran extends far beyond an expression of gratitude or a free meal. It extends to how they are accepted into your life once they return from combat or deployment. It extends to how you speak about current wars or political situations. It extends to how you adhere to and respect the Constitution of the United States. It extends to whether or not you support programs in place to help veterans transition or for them to receive care once they have fulfilled their active duty contract.

At times, when those aforementioned things listed aren’t happening veterans do not feel supported, there for it begs the question, “who is really celebrating Veterans Day?”

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy a free meal or a discounted service. But, I also enjoy - and I know I’m not alone in this - knowing that the people I gave up a good portion of my life for to ensure they were protected genuinely support me despite where I served; what branch I served for; what president I served under; how different situations affected me and require support and what my job was while serving.

From the outside looking in it may seem as though we left for months or years and then came home unscathed. However, it isn’t atypical or unusual for any of us to come home with the inability to process what we have witnessed, experienced or have done.

All of this was absolutely our choice. We all signed the - what seemed like millions - paperwork to enlist.

Yes, the argument can be entertained that we enlisted for selfish reasons, such as college benefits. Perhaps that was an incentive, but what some may not perfectly understand that it is absolutely not an entitlement. No one enlists and is handed a lump sum of money for free to attend college.

Is it terrible, though, that enlisted veterans get a college education after or during their time of enlistment? Especially, since many give up years of their lives and often a huge chunk of a peace of mind?

I’m not demanding anything from anyone. But, I am kindly asking to reconsider how you treat veterans, especially on Veteran’s Day.

Many veterans want nothing more than to live a peaceful life spending time with our families and continue to be dedicated to the country we served and love. Many veterans want the same things as the vast population. But, more often than not, we want more than anything to just be accepted and respected.