As we mark Veteran’s Day this year, I’m so thankful to veterans everywhere, from all wars. We owe fighting men and women a debt that as a nation we must always honor. Sometimes it’s a debt we can never repay.
We cowards at home are so fortunate to have brave souls who will endure hardship, fight with courage and possibly die for us. For freedom. A “thank you” and national holiday aren’t nearly enough… we need to do far more for the men and women who serve, whether they pay the ultimate price or not.
I hope this holiday brings the national attention to the treatment given to our veterans. It’s shameful. Horrible. Unjust and obscene in a country where more care is given to an illegal immigrant than a returning solider. All measures and resources needed must be turned to fixing this problem, whether the politicians want to or not. We the people need to stand up, not just say “thank you” with words, but with actions and support of veterans’ issues.
If Fate had taken a different turn my own uncles may not have survived fighting in WWII. My father could have fought in Korea. Men of that generation were a different breed than the tattooed, pierced dudes of today — they didn’t talk about war, they went and fought and some never came home. Those who did return never talked about the war, but they never forgot it either. It chills me to think about this generation of young people, growing up in an era of abundance and ready access so unlike what that greatest generation had, in a similar situation, facing that kind of threat.
Not to mention what would be happening on the home front.
Can you imagine? Wartime was (and is) a time of real, hard changes in ordinary life. Think ration books for food and gas, limited availability of basics like milk, eggs, butter. Think having to make do, go hungry, be without the latest information. Imagine being truly unsure if the US would win or lose.
Tapping into the national mindset of those days is easier than you think. Just look at the US wartime propaganda being produced and distributed at every turn. This one’s my favorite. Makes me chuckle every time.
I remember the stories my parents told of those days. It’s hard not to think that people (myself included) have become so soft… so comfortable and entitled we could not handle a real challenge with any type of grace or fortitude. Our attention spans are short. Our tolerance for discomfort almost nonexistent. The wailing and whining would be deafening… the panic at a fever pitch that makes the current flap over Ebola look like a slow news day.
Yikes. Let’s hope that’s not something we need to worry about anytime soon. In the meantime, offer a “thank you” to any veteran you see. Pay for a meal, a drink, or a cup of coffee. And support veterans issues every day, not just on this special holiday.