Remembering Veterans Day
November 7, 2006
The following commentary is reprinted courtesy of Michelle Cuthrell, a freelance writer whose husband is assigned to the 172nd Stryker Brigade at Fort Wainright, Alaska. This story first appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 7, 2006) - Between the sugar high of Halloween and the turkey gobbling of Thanksgiving, Americans often forget about Veterans Day.
Because it is a part of the October-November-December holiday rush, the holiday is often neglected.
"I don't have time to celebrate Veterans Day," "I don't really understand Veterans Day" and "I really just don't feel like celebrating one more holiday right now" are some of the excuses I've heard for not taking time out on Nov. 11 to honor the veterans of this country who have served overseas and on the home-front to ensure the safety and security of our country.
When people tell me they "just don't feel like" celebrating another holiday or don't understand why we celebrate Veterans Day, I can't help but wonder what qualities they value if selfless sacrifice and duty to country don't make their top-ten list of important traits to honor and respect.
I'm sure the veterans we celebrate on that special day "felt like" serving everyday they fought wars overseas. I'm sure their missions made sense to them 100 percent of the time, every single day. I'm sure they woke up every morning and said to themselves, "What a great day to put my life on the line. I really feel like getting up today and making a huge sacrifice for my country. Can I please stay in this tent one week longer with no sleep and only a couple Meals, Ready to Eat, to keep me going' Oh, and could you please shoot at me in the process' That would really make my day, and make a lot of sense, too."
Thanking and honoring veterans needs to be something we do even when we don't feel like it - even when we don't understand their mission, or why they love their country so much.
Veterans serve when they feel like it and when they don't. They serve when they understand the mission and they serve when they just don't get it. Everyday, they lay down their Isaacs - all the things they don't want to sacrifice the most, including their families, their comforts and their safety - because they want to follow the mission and serve well. Whether that call is from the president, the military or from God himself, they follow that voice and they serve because they believe so much in what they do and what they have.
The least we can do for these selfless servants is take one day out of the year to honor them. Here are a few practical ways to honor these heroes this Veterans Day:
AfAcAc'A!A,Ac Write a veteran a thank-you note, or send a letter to an entire VFW or American Legion post.
AfAcAc'A!A,Ac Write a letter to a Soldier currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
AfAcAc'A!A,Ac Talk to your children about who veterans are, what they do and what their service means to our country.
Don't let the "I don't understand" and "I don't feel like it" excuses get in the way of honoring the people who have sacrificed and served our country when they didn't understand and didn't feel like it. That kind of service is too important to ignore.