I wasn’t planning on writing this today. Partly because it has nothing to do with books and also because I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to say. But I don’t think there is a wrong answer to my question. Also, I think Veterans Day is known as Remembrance Day in other parts of the world? I think. Just so you know what I’m talking about. And I think it’s celebrated on November 11 in most places to coincide with the end of World War I.
Let me see if I can answer this without thinking too much about it and giving some calculated response. To me, Veterans Day reminds me that during the 365 days a year I spend going through my day-to-day routine, whatever it may be, there are American soldiers deployed somewhere else in the world. Some are in combat zones and others aren’t, but so many are away from their families and friends. And that these soldiers are tasked with a job that I could never do. They are protecting the freedom and interests of the United States. And every one of us should be grateful for every one of them. That’s what Veterans Day means to me.
See, I don’t have any close friends or family members currently in the military. I think one of my grandpas served during World War II? But I’m not sure. All I know is that military personnel were present at his funeral and someone was presented with an American flag. But that doesn’t diminish the meaning of this day to me. My university was extremely military friendly and I had classes with veterans every single semester. I never asked about their service and I didn’t become close friends with any of them. But those classes taught me something I hadn’t realized before then, they’re just regular people like you and me. I guess I used to have this thought that anyone in the Army or in the Marines had to have a certain look about them that gave off some aura that told you not to mess with them, but no. It put a face to our military. At least it did for me.
There are always going to be some really bad things going on in the world, and the United States military will always be there. At the ready. For whatever arises. To serve the country and protect all of us. They don’t care who we voted for or if we’re White or Black or rich or poor, we’re Americans and that’s all that matters.
So if you’re reading this and you’re a United States veteran, I thank you for your service and also for your sacrifice. I know you won’t agree, but you ARE a hero. And I’m not the only one who believes so.
ESPN did a great video a little while back on veterans returning home. It’s got a sports theme to it, but these are real families and it shows how the entire families of these men and women are affected by their service. Just look at their reactions. Here’s the video. I’ve watched it maybe a dozen times and I cry every single time.
If you know any veterans, then thank them. Today and every day that you can. And don’t forget about the countless others who never made it home.
I wrote this poem a couple days ago for today.
What’s Veterans Day mean to you?