Thank a Veteran Today

Those of us born in the years immediately after World War II grew up surrounded by  Veterans. There was a framed photograph of many a “Dad” in uniform quietly on display in many a living room. More often, though, photos, and medals, service ribbons, and dog tags were tucked away in a desk or dresser drawer, only to be discovered years later–often after the men they belong to were gone. Few of those Vets told their wartime stories. And even when they did, they usually spoke only of the lighter moments, the incidents they thought would entertain us, or make us laugh. We never asked enough questions. And now, of course, it’s too late. Perhaps that’s okay. Perhaps it’s enough for us to know… that they saved the World. And that they set a standard for courage and selflessness that has never been matched. They truly were the Greatest Generation. An inspiration to us all.

But all those fathers, and uncles, and grandfathers, friends and neighbors who served in World War II are not the only Veterans in our lives.

In my cohort, the older Baby Boomers, nearly every young man I know served in the military during the Vietnam era. It was a different war. The reasons for going to War did not present the obvious struggle between good and evil. The same can be said for every war that has followed. Yet those who served in those wars are no less worthy of our admiration, respect, and gratitude. For they answered their country’s call. They did what they believed was right. And no matter how much we abhor warfare, no matter how misguided we think some political or military decisions might be, we all know that the freedoms we enjoy and our very lives could quickly disappear with no military to protect us. 

Today we pause to express our gratitude to all who have served our country, to honor the memories of those who gave their lives in war. And those who carried the burden of wartime experiences with them for the rest of their lives.

Army. Navy. Air Force. Marines. Coast Guard. And Merchant Marine, too.

To those still with us, who are serving, or have served: Thank you!
And for those who have left us: Memory Eternal!