On this Veterans Day:

On this Veterans Day there’s much you can do. Some cities have parades and big celebrations and others don’t. But that doesn’t matter. Honoring and supporting our veterans should be an everyday thing.

They’re sent all over the world to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. And they’re sent to fight against terrorist organizations that have no concept of right and wrong. They’re sent thousands of miles from home. They leave their friends and families. They protect this great country of ours at exceptional cost and sacrifice.

But living in the United States can make it easy to take these heroes for granted. We don’t have to worry about if our home is going to be bombed. We don’t see the consequences of war in our backyard. There may come a day in which we come under attack from a foreign power or terror group, and guess who will be right there on the front lines to protect our homeland? The men and women of our military.

It’s easy to criticize the use of our military in foreign affairs, but that criticism should not fall on the shoulders of the soldiers who are out to do good.

So maybe today you can visit with some local veterans. Or watch your local parade on TV. Or even pull out your credit card and make a donation to a veterans group. There are many things you can do today, but don’t forget there are many things you can do everyday.

If you’re reading this and you’ve served for the United States, know that there are millions of people who recognize and appreciate your sacrifice. I thank you for all you’ve done. It’s more than I’ll probably do in my lifetime.

What’s Veterans Day Mean to you?

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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?

Our Veterans (poem)

Our Veterans
Men & women
Like you and me
Who sacrifice everything
For our country

They go to war
Right away
To fight the fight
And get home safe

Some come home quiet
And hurt too
But don’t forget
They were fighting for you

They’re true heroes
I’m sure you agree
They’re also the reason
We’re really free

We all know a veteran
Every one of us
Be sure to thank them
For their service

Photo Credit: FIP

I know Veterans Day isn’t until Tuesday, buy everyday should be Veterans Day. So I’m sharing this today.