Monday, November 11, 2019

Veteran's Day, a personal view

Arlington National Cemetery
Today our nation recognizes and honors veterans, all those men and women who have given up years of their lives and more, to defend the freedom our country has avowed since its founding. This is something we must all do, especially on this day and at this time. Whether traveling to a foreign land or staying at home to vote for better leadership of our country, we must all do our part.

I refuse to say Happy Veterans Day because this day is not happy. Too many of this country’s men and women remain in foreign places, far from home in locations they would rather not be. Too many veterans have died during and after leaving the military, or suffered from illness and health consequences directly related to their military service. So many others have been ignored and mistreated, despite efforts to do the very best we can.

We can’t even celebrate all those veterans that have come home since so many have not yet done so. So many more have come home only to be buried by their loved ones. Statistics on veteran suicide are horrific.

Somehow, saying “thank you for your service” seems shallow and over-used in so many instances.

I’ve been to Arlington National Cemetery. I have never seen a more moving scene. To view row after row of stones, as far as the eye can see, marking individual graves of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers whose lives were taken too soon, is one of the saddest things I’d ever seen. And to think there are 137 national cemeteries in 40 states. This country is only 340 years old! We have to do better.

I recognize the calling of those who have joined the military, for whatever reason. But in my view, the best way to honor our veterans is to end all wars, to make Veteran’s Day one where we can celebrate world peace and everyone who has contributed to it.

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