In a day and age when every special interest group, event, or culture has its own day, it’s easy to overlook those which are so important.
Nov. 11 is one of those easily forgotten days. It’s Veterans Day, a time set aside to remember the efforts of those who served their country to preserve the liberties we still enjoy, but often take for granted.
It’s sad that sometimes even our elected officials often confuse Veterans Day, which honors all who served, and Memorial Day, when we remember those who fell. Veterans Day is a time when we can actually say thank you to those who put on a uniform.
It isn’t just a day off from school or work. It isn’t just a day when many government offices will close, slightly complicating things for the citizens who need the service provided by those offices. It’s not just the first day of bear and duck seasons, or an extra day to deer hunt. It isn’t just a day to go shopping.
It’s a day when we should go out of our way to say thank you to those who make it possible for our children to go to school, to vote, to have a chance to succeed, to know that we as Americans have rights that make our country stand out among the nations of the earth.
Were it not for our veterans, we likely wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we still have. Indeed, America’s Veterans Day could well be celebrated in a dozen countries, where our warriors have gone to help introduce freedom and fairness to people who have known only terror and tyranny.
Sadly, we still do not have a good handle on how to keep the promises made to our veterans; we’ve had an all-volunteer military for decades now, yet that desire to serve one’s country doesn’t often see that love reciprocated. The health care system that promises to take care of those who serve is not quite in shambles, but it is a shame. Soldiers and their families still sometimes have to live partly on welfare. In today’s changing world of national security, it can be difficult for government leaders to determine when and where our precious sons and daughters should be deployed to protect the interests of our country.
Yet we still have young men and women whose dream is to serve in the military of their country; some are in it for a job, others for the adventure, but before their time in uniform ends, all those reasons are replaced by a love of country and a dedication to keeping the wolf away from the door at home.
Please take the time to thank a veteran – you don’t have to wait for Veterans Day. They work beside us, shop in the same stores, go to the same churches, have children in the same schools. They are just like everyone else, yet they are not like everyone else—because it takes a special dedication and selflessness to be willing to die in the service of people one has never met.
To all our surviving veterans – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, the ever-changing War on Terror, and a thousand other brushfires in between: thank you.
Without you, America wouldn’t just be less of a country.
America just wouldn’t be, period.