By The Veterans Site, Greater Good
Veterans Day is a time to honor all the brave men and women among us who, at one time or another, put on the uniform and served to protect our country, our liberty and our lives.
For those who never served in the military, it is impossible to understand the sacrifices that have been made for all Americans by those few brave ones; the time spent away from family or personal pursuits, the physical toll of training and fighting, the scars that remain when the battle is over. Every citizen owes a debt that can never be repaid, a debt to every veteran for their service and our freedom. And while we can never truly understand their sacrifice or repay their service, we can honor them, be thankful for them and remember them.
Not a day goes by that American citizens should forget the price that has been paid by our veterans, but on Veterans Day we pause to make sure we are thankful for each and every man and woman who wore the uniform. For so many, those veterans are sons and daughters, siblings, parents, grandparents, relatives or friends. Sadly, others are homeless or struggling.
On Veterans Day we remember them all, and we express our gratitude for what they have done. We are also thankful to have them with us — whether or not we know them personally.
“It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away,” said President Ronald Reagan on Veterans Day in 1985. “The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.”
He continued by saying:
“There’s always someone who is remembering for us. No matter what time of year it is or what time of day, there are always people who come to this cemetery, leave a flag or a flower or a little rock on a headstone. And they stop and bow their heads and communicate what they wished to communicate. They say, ‘Hello, Johnny,’ or ‘Hello, Bob. We still think of you. You’re still with us. We never got over you, and we pray for you still, and we’ll see you again. We’ll all meet again.’ In a way, they represent us, these relatives and friends, and they speak for us as they walk among the headstones and remember. It’s not so hard to summon memory, but it’s hard to recapture meaning.”
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardsmen — we are thankful to them all for their service. Veterans Day is their day. Make sure you take time this Veterans Day to do something special for a veteran. Tell them “thank you,” attend a parade or ceremony, volunteer or donate to a veterans’ organization, or perform a random act of kindness to let a veteran know that they are not forgotten, and neither is their service.
To all the heroes have served our country, we thank you and honor you on this Veterans Day. Thank you for all your sacrifices and for fighting for our freedom!