This Wednesday we honor and remember our veterans. An elite few of them have done remarkable, heroic things. While in combat, they distinguished themselves by killing or capturing many enemy forces, heroically saving the lives of fellow comrades, or both.
So on Veteran’s Day some may ask, “Why honor the “regular guys and gals”? Why not just honor the heroes?”
After all, for hundreds of thousands of veterans like me, our service was simply about doing a job. And for doing that job we were paid. Granted, the checks we earned certainly did not make us rich. But we were compensated, so why honor us for our service?
Because, I believe military “service” is different. Veterans, drafted or volunteer, made the decision to do their job in service to our country. Whether that job was simply walking guard duty at night in a cold, wet rain, or involved a life changing deployment to a foreign land, or was commanding others operating machines of war, in the military our job was focused on serving a cause bigger than our own self interest. Our job was ultimately about protecting and defending others.
Almost always, the job caused us to be away from our home and loved ones. Frequently, the job was dangerous, sometimes more than even we would admit. Most of us clearly remember comrades on the job who never made it back home alive.
Regardless of rank or position, our common job was “service.” The job of serving united us. It drove us to do more than we thought possible. Why? Because we did not want to let down those we served with or the country we served.
As we honor our veterans, and their families, we show we in this nation still value and appreciate selfless service to others. I think doing so both humbles and elevates us individually and as a nation. And to all of you who have, or are serving, I say, sincerely, “Thank you for your service.”
I think doing so, on Veteran’s Day or any other day, is always appropriate.
What do you think?