Our veterans may be out of harm's way. They may have made it safely home. But they still need our prayers and they deserve our thanks for a lifetime of service.

I didn’t know my husband when he was on active duty in the military. I've only seen pictures of him wearing the standard sailor's hat, the navy and white uniform.


He claims I wouldn't have liked him much then, with his foul mouth and teenaged angst, but I can't imagine meeting him and not falling in love -- at any age.


When we were planning our honeymoon, I suggested a cruise and he cringed. I had visions of sunbathing on the deck and dancing at night. He had visions of being out to sea for six months and working almost non-stop painting and repairing airplanes.


The first time we visited my family in Oklahoma, he pulled out his military duffle bag and began rolling enough shirts, pants and shoes for weeks. Then he squeezed in towels, a Brita water pitcher and filter and what seemed like 20 other things. Nobody packs for a trip like a veteran.


Brian will sometimes show our boys online videos of what sailors do the first time they cross the equator, or he'll talk about how tricky it is to get an aircraft carrier safely through the Suez Canal. But he never talks about the three airplanes he saw crash into the water or about how he still wonders 17 years later if there was something he could have done better as an airplane mechanic.


I didn't know about the crashes until we were closing in on our eighth wedding anniversary. Brian was having some medical and educational testing done, and one of the questionnaires touched on traumatic events. If the doctor hadn't referenced the airplane crashes in his report, I probably still wouldn't know about them.


I'd continue buying Brian a card on Veterans Day and thanking him on the Fourth of July, and I wouldn't realize that his tour of duty isn't quite done. 


Like so many other men and women, he has the paperwork, the formal discharge and the medals -- and still he carries a heavy weight. Still he serves. 


Our veterans may be out of harm's way. They may have made it safely home. But they still need our prayers and they deserve our thanks for a lifetime of service.


*****


Join me at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, for a live chat with "One Thousand Gifts" author Ann Voskamp on the Simply Faithful page on Facebook.


Marketta Gregory is a former religion reporter who now shares her own journey of faith with readers. She lives in Rochester, N.Y., with her husband, their three young boys and one very vocal Pomeranian. To contact Gregory, email markettagregory@yahoo.com or write to her at P.O. Box 12923, Rochester, NY 14612. You can also visit the Simply Faithful page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter (@MarkettaGregory).