November 11, 2014 by falcon7204
Today is the day that we honor those men and women who put on the uniform of the United States Armed Forces, served, fought, and many times died to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Many of us will wear little flag pins, attend Veteran’s Day celebrations, and – in some cases – use the occasion to deride or belittle our military, as a Salon writer did the other day.
The best way, in my mind, to honor a veteran is to thank them for their service. Many are old; many are in failing health; many suffer from wounds received in battle, or the kind of wound that goes deeper but can’t be seen. But they put on the uniform to protect our ability to wear those little flag pins, to attend those Veteran’s Day celebrations, and yes, even to belittle and deride the military.
My Dad was a veteran – 21 years in the United States Army. He died last month, so I’ll never again be able to tell him thanks for what he did, but I made it a point in his later years to make sure he knew how appreciative I was that he did what he did. It was a major sacrifice, giving up family and home to go places and do things to defend the Stars and Stripes. And it took a toll on him emotionally. But, although he never spoke about many of the things he did – like being a heavy artillery fire coordinator in Korea, or being part of the funeral detail for President Dwight Eisenhower in 1968 – he was unabashedly proud of having served. Talk to just about any veteran, and you’ll find the same attitude.
But be sure to talk to them. And thank them. Few of us could do what they did.