Image source: Times Square Chronicles
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919. Yesterday was the official observance even though today is the national federal celebration. Today we recognize Veterans Day, and while many people have the day off from work, we cannot forget those who we say ‘Thank you for your service” to, who do not get such a recess, despite the fact this day is to honor them. Perhaps you have family members or you yourself served in one of the military branches in this country. Once you’ve seen combat, an impression is stamped on your mind that cannot be deleted.
If you have never visited a VA hospital or clinic, and have seen the faces of so many veterans as far back as WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, one could not realize or fathom the magnitude these faces actually faced. The cries within that cannot be heard, the nightmares that no one sees and the depth of pain that an observer cannot feel is what a vet may find etched forever in their soul.
As a family member or friend, we tend to shy away from questions to avoid stirring up the demons one tries to bury from seeing first-hand atrocities and real-time carnage. Yet when we fail to ask, we pretend that our veterans return back to normal civilian life, by resuming where they left off. Not so. Easier said than done.
On this Veterans Day, may we see this celebration differently with greater compassion, love, and a welcoming embrace? May our dialogue encompass a genuine nature to nurture, and to honor the sacrifice and service of so many unsung heroes in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.