Before moving to the Fort Leonard Wood area from Kansas City in July, I really didn't have any actual attachments to the military. Like many Americans, I “supported the troops,” while remaining blissfully ignorant and distant from the issues that face the people who have given up so much to protect the rights and the country I so often take for granted. For the most part, what I knew about the military came straight from the national media — so I didn't really know much. I knew there were still a few soldiers left in Iraq and Afghanistan, but wasn't aware they were still being deployed by the hundreds, and will be for at least the next year. I always figured it would be hard being a military spouse, but didn't have a clue as to the day-to-day struggles they endure. Truthfully, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan being deployed time-and-time again and the mental and physical strains those experiences have on them. I respected the military. I appreciated the military. But I was completely unaware of the selfless sacrifices they make on a day-to-day basis. But soon after moving to this predominantly military community, I realized just how painfully ignorant I was. As a reporter here, I've had the oppportunity to listen the stories from soldiers and their families that give me a much clearer meaning of the word “sacrifice.” I have listened a commanding general tell his soldiers about the horrific night he spent talking a young soldier out of killing himself. I have listened to a Gold Star Mother cry as she proudly spoke about her only son, who was killed in action last year in Iraq. I have listened to a sergeant spill out his fears while thinking about his upcoming deployment — his fourth in five years — and the stone-cold realization that he has been lucky so far, and that luck may very well run out this time. I have listened to a soldier's wife tell me just how hard it is having a husband in Afghanistan — with sleepless nights and lonely days — how the little things constantly remind her just how much she misses him and needs him there. I've learned very quickly, that soldiers and their loved ones are dealing with issues that run deep, hit hard, and stick with them. And I realize that they are going through these things all for something bigger than themselves. They are selflessly enduring the pain, the anxiety, the emotional roller coasters, all so that you and I can enjoy our freedom, our rights, and the beautiful nation we all call home. So for this Veterans Day, I would like to say thank you to the soldiers, the veterans, and their families for your selfless sacrifices, your bravery, and your commitment to your country. I would also like to thank all of the veterans, soldiers, and their families for sharing their stories with me and teaching me the steep costs of freedom. And I encourage every American to get to know military personnel and their families, listen to their stories, and thank them for their duties. Ignorance might be bliss, but it definitely isn't right.