Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Veterans Day

To so many of us, Veterans Day is a day off of work, if we're lucky, or a sale.
It seems like we could do better. We are supposed to be honoring people who have said, "Yes, I believe in this cause, and I will fight so that you can retain your liberty." That includes the civil liberties, by the way.
I don't think a lot of us understand what is involved in fighting a war. It's not a John Wayne film, it's not a video game. People die in the most awful ways possible. Others are damaged: physically, emotionally.

I'm no fan of war, but in some cases, it's unavoidable. That's a sad fact of humanity, and I wish it weren't so. We can dream of and work towards a day when we will fight no more, but I don't think it's coming any time soon.
In the meantime, though, we have veterans. People who are/were willing to fight and die so that we can enjoy our lives. In World War II, people made sacrifices for their soldiers. It's rare in this "war" that most of us even know someone in the military, let alone sacrifice for them.
So, if we're not going to sacrifice for them, the least we can do is thank them. And if you don't know anyone who is currently enlisted, find an older vet and thank them. Your grandfather, or a neighbor, or even a homeless person with a sign saying "I'm a vet." Make a small ceremony of it. Look them in the eye. Take their hand. Maybe buy them a cup of coffee. It can be meaningful, even in that small way.
Better still, check the local paper and see who is having a service to honor veterans tomorrow. These ceremonies have become very sparsely attended, and it would convey a lot to those present to see the public there. In their heart and your own, you will have made a difference.

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