Today is Veterans Day.
Isn’t it funny how if this was a week ago every politician would be saying “Support the Troops” and “Love America” and a bunch of other warm-and-fuzzy uber-patriotic slogans that campaign without campaigning? Yet today…not so much.
That’s beside the point of this article but still…interesting, no?
I’ve never served in the armed forces. No one in my family has ever served either. Of my friends, I think a couple were in the service, and they are people I am not particularly close to. I’ve held a gun, and I rarely agree with war as a problem-solving tool. It seems like a waste in so many respects. As a civilian, there’s a lot of things I can’t comprehend about being a veteran. I can’t imagine living and working in a place where people are trying to kill you. Like, literally kill you. Like, you could turn a corner and suddenly explode and that’s it for you. I can’t even begin to image what that would be like.
Furthermore, it is hard for me to understand the situation in which I would agree to enter into that situation of my own free will. The draft is inactive and it has been for a long time, and our current army is made on a volunteer basis. Either things are so bad in your current situation that you would rather live in a warzone than stick around for one more day, or you believe in the cause so much that you’re willing to put yourself in a position where you get shot, stabbed, or blown up. Personally, I don’t recall either situation ever coming about in my life.
The fact of the matter is that there is very little I, or anyone who hasn’t spent time in the armed forces, can really do to make up for the sacrifices they’ve made. The years spent away from home and family, the mental strain, the physical danger…people have fought, died, lost brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and fathers and mothers, all for the idea that people should be free to live the lives they want to live. I respect and recognize what they’ve done, and I wish I could do something to thank them for everything, but everything I think of seems insignificant by comparison.
Honestly, and this may sound stupid, but I think the best way to honor these sacrifices is, simply to live freely. Even if it’s just for an hour or two, spend some time today exercising the freedom to do what you want to do in the name of our veterans, and encourage and support others in doing the same. Paint a picture. Write a song. Take up archery. Ask that person you’ve been admiring from afar if he/she wants to grab lunch with you. Volunteer to help the less fortunate. Eat cake for dinner. Because you can. Because of them.