Jackie Gingrich Cushman

I'm going to take the opportunity this week to write a letter of thanks, to our veterans.

Our country is blessed to have people who are willing to serve in our military. They enter the service knowing that they might end up giving the ultimate sacrifice, their life. Still, they decide that our country is worth the risk. It's a risk that more than 24 million men and women alive today have made.

Breathtaking, isn't it?

Men and women who have put or are putting their lives on the line for us, for me, for you, every day.

Thank you.

Thank you to all who have served or are serving our country.

My family tree has military personnel hanging from almost every branch. My father grew up as an Army brat, his stepfather served in the Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. My father grew up in France, Germany, Kansas and Columbus, Ga.

My uncle served in the Air Force. My father-in-law, the Army; my husband's maternal grandfather served in the Navy. Countless other uncles and cousins have served or are serving now.

In our culture of celebrity, we often celebrate the famous for nothing more than being famous. Our self-centered culture often focuses on and celebrates those who live only for themselves. But we know that there is more to life. We want there to be more to life.

Few heroes exist in today's world. By heroes, I mean those men and women who serve others first, who do not attempt to gain something for themselves, but seek instead to redeem, or save, others. These are the real heroes.

Our family saw an example of such self-sacrifice this past weekend when we watched the movie "Captain America." I love it when the good guys (that's America) win. In this version of that theme (note: plot spoiler), Steve Rogers, who had been deemed unfit for military service, is recruited for Project Rebirth. He is given the opportunity to become a super soldier (Captain America), after throwing himself on a grenade that he thought was about to explode to save the lives of others.

After Steve is transformed into Captain America, the scientist who discovered the super soldier serum is killed. The decision is made for Captain America to be used for press purposes in America, rather than as a super soldier fighting abroad. While touring America, Steve learns that his friend has been captured by the bad guys. As heroes tend to do, he took action and, in the end, defeated the enemy while saving his friend.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.