When I was in high school, I entertained the thought of joining the Air Force because I wanted to fly a jet. (I love flying, always have.) This probably surprises a lot of people who know me, even people who knew me back then. Most people look at me (or my writing) and military is not what comes to mind. What wouldn’t surprise anyone is that I’m too short to do any such thing, which is what the recruiter told me after asking how tall my parents were (probably trying to determine if I would grow more – which I didn’t). I was disappointed, but moved on to another booth at the career fair. Obviously, I wasn’t all that invested or committed in actually joining the Air Force.
That’s the thing about people who join the armed forces: they’re committed. They know that’s what they want to do. They want to defend the rest of us from the bad guys out there in the world, no matter where that might be. They have a drive to be part of an organization that does their best to keep our country safe.
I have absolute respect for all branches of the military. Yes, there are flaws and (violent) problems in the systems of our military right now that vitally need to be addressed, at all levels. Despite that, I think the majority of the people who join – past, present, and future – do so because they’re an optimistic hero who ultimately thinks they can make the world a better place.
And that’s why I think Veteran’s Day should be more than just a once a year holiday or a long-weekend sales experience. The men and women who fight for our country deserve far more than they get for the trauma and pain suffered during any war or conflict. Even during peacetime, it takes a special person to join the military because let’s face it; conflicts erupt all the time on the world stage and at any moment, soldiers can be sent around the world to fight and die for all of us. That’s what they do and why they joined; to protect those they love and their country.
Stand up for them, like they do for us. Here are some organizations that try to help those who defend us.
And for those who live by wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_veterans’_organizations
I would say Happy Veterans Day, but that always seemed such a misnomer to me. It shouldn’t be a ‘happy’ day, but one of thanks and remembrance. So thank you, members currently in the military and the veterans who already served. I know I couldn’t do it and am grateful you can, and do.