I have never been in combat.
I have never taken up arms against an opposing army. I have never felt a man die in my arms. I have never “killed a man just to watch him die”. I have never been drafted or volunteered or been evacced. For all these things I consider myself lucky but I know there are plenty of men and women who have.
I know there have been many bloody and epic wars in the history of my country that I have been amazingly blessed to not have any fought in during my formulative years. I know men and women have lost their lives in defense of my country. I understand that the blood of those people’s sacrifices earned the freedoms I enjoy today.
Why then do I blog on this today? Because today is Veterans Day and if not for the radio I listened to this morning it might have passed without me even knowing. To many of us Veterans Day has become an inconvenience. The Post Office is closed. My bank is shut down. I am more bent out of shape that I had to park so far away from where I work, or that I’m having to pay more for my water due to a drought that has long been over, or that the #1 player of my favorite college team was injured in practice. Have I given a thought today to soldiers and their families at all?
The answer is regrettably no. On a typical Veterans Day I would not give a second thought to veterans, which is a point of shame to me. I owe the fact that I can go to the post office or the bank to these soldiers. The fact that I have a job, a car, and a house is due in no small way to these very veterans that I don’t even acknowledge.
As a non-historian, my knowledge on World Wars One and Two is limited to what I read in history text and saw in movies. The experiences of the Korean & Vietnam Wars were lost to me. Even the Persian Gulf, which was during my lifetime, is not something I know much about. I am a history idiot, or to be politically correct, “Historically Challenged.”
So my challenge to myself today and to you as a viewer of this blog is twofold. One, let’s read more about our history to better understand the significance of this day and these veterans that we should be honoring. Two, let’s go out and find a veteran and thank him or her for their commitment to our country, to our freedoms, and to us. If you have any trouble finding a veteran, I bet many can be found at your local Veterans Hospital.
Let’s start this year honoring and acknowledging what we have here, a land of the free and a home of the brave.