Five simple words for our coronavirus heroes Published April 8, 2020 By Capt. Korey Fratini U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs RAMSTEIN, RP, Germany -- As service members, we are often approached by strangers who want to reach out and say, “thank you for your service.” This kind gesture is something I’ve always appreciated. Serving my nation is a source of pride and a way to be a part of something that is bigger than myself. But we are truly living in unprecedented times. From social media to the non-stop news coverage, coronavirus has consumed every aspect of our daily lives. I can no longer go a day without seeing and feeling the impacts of this pandemic. Living in Europe and seeing how this virus has spread here has given me an entirely new perspective. Daily images of medical professionals and first responders dominate the news cycle. Dedicated, determined, yet overworked, they are risking everything to care for those most in need. In the military, we defend our nation, its values and the American way of life. Sometimes that fight takes us to a combat zone in a foreign place. This pandemic is different than deploying to a combat zone; our daily way of life at home is no longer the same. We are all in a fight for our lives across the globe, and this time those on the front lines are our first responders and medical professionals. Communities across the globe are grappling with fighting this pandemic, and those needed most are putting their lives at risk to serve others. Every day they go to war with an invisible enemy that shows no remorse or prejudice to its victims. The men and women on the front lines of this fight are selfless professionals risking their lives to care for others, not knowing what could happen to them. They wake up, go to work, and know they are putting their lives at risk to battle an enemy we are still trying to understand. They learn, adapt, and stand ready, leading the charge against the newest threat to our way of life. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for these professionals. I have family, friends and loved ones who wake up every day, ready to tackle this challenge. To me, this is personal. I see the grueling hours, exhaustion and mental toll of their new daily reality. Our first responders and medical professionals deserve our unwavering gratitude and appreciation during these extremely difficult times. It is during challenges like this that we must unite and stand together. Those serving in the military are often regarded as heroes by many, but in the fight against coronavirus, the real heroes are those standing on these new front lines. The medics, nurses, doctors, first responders and other medical professionals – they are the true patriots. Their selflessness and dedication to serve others during one of the most trying times our world and generation has ever known is inspiring. We owe them our debt and gratitude. Sometimes it is hard to find the right words to explain how much we appreciate the people in our lives for what they do. At this particular moment, I am reminded of five simple words that I often hear. So to all of those on the front lines of this fight, I want to offer these five simple words: Thank you for your service.