As I was sitting in my home in East Anchorage, thinking about what I wanted to write about this month, I could hear the sound of our local troops engaging in live fire training in the dark of the evening. “Pow… pow, pow, pow. BOOM! Tat, tat tat…”
With each sound I heard I couldn’t help imagine for a moment what it might be like to be in a war zone or amid some foreign conflict. A few more seconds and I tried to imagine what I might feel if it were me. Certainly fear, right? Courage? Determination? Then I realized that I haven’t a clue. I can only imagine.
Veterans Day is November 11th. You probably know that Veterans Day is an official U.S. holiday and that it honors people who have served in the armed forces for our country. Wikipedia expands on that definition and indicates that Veterans Day coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day—which are “celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.” The date chosen for these holidays is relevant because World War I was ended formally at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
I believe that what President Woodrow Wilson said when first proclaiming U.S. Armistice Day (which later became Veterans Day) is worth remembering, always,
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
Listening to our troops from the comfort of my home filled me with a deep sense of gratitude and pride. Yet, as fast as that feeling came, it was replaced with embarrassment. Yes, embarrassment; for how often I pass a veteran or military personnel on the street without putting out my hand and sincerely thanking them for their service.
I am truly grateful for our veterans, past and present—for everything they have done to secure my freedom and peace of mind. I was born into a great country. My circumstances were paid for on the backs of so many fearful, yet courageous and valiant individuals.
How appropriate that Veteran’s Day is celebrated the same month we celebrate Thanksgiving! My challenge to you (and to myself) is this: The next time you cross paths with a veteran or military person, hold out your hand or even give them a hug and thank them for what they have done and do for us, and our country! And if you want to do more, tune into our blog for the month of November, we will be exploring other ways to support our veterans.