Yesterday was Veteran’s Day across the US, and everywhere you went there were special events, giveaways, speeches, and so on to commemorate the event. And that is a very good thing – I remember well the era when individual soldiers were lumped with politicians and others in terms of getting blamed for Vietnam and everything else that was wrong with the country throughout the 1970’s.
And while I have significant concerns about many of the restrictions to our freedoms and ability to dissent in our post-9/11 reality, I think it is a wonderful change for the good in our country that regardless of how anyone feels about the wars we are involved with or actions by our government at home and abroad, we all unite in supporting our soldiers and realizing the vital and essential service they provide.
But the editorial comic in my local newspaper yesterday was chilling – it is a reminder that for too many of us Veteran’s Day was ONLY yesterday, and today reality marches on. Yet for veterans the issues they face do not have a single special day – they are a constant reminder that they have faced situations that no one should ever deal with.
Thirty years ago I was very concerned with the implementation of a ‘draft registration’, but today our nation is still defended by an all-volunteer force. These extremely brave men and women have made a choice to put service to their country at the center of their lives, to join a military service that pretty much ensures they will be sent into very harsh conditions in the midst of a part of the world that is hostile and dangerous even on a good day. They join to protect us despite knowing just how many of their brethren have paid the ultimate price for their loyalty and love of country.
So let us not forget our veterans just because the official day has come and gone. Yesterday was Veteran’s Day, but so is today and tomorrow and every other day. Because the men and women of our military don’t get to only serve when it is convenient, we too should make our best effort to show our appreciation for them every day and in every way we can.