I’ve been thinking a lot about Veteran’s Day and I can’t be more honest than to admit that I will never understand what our servicemen and women or their families experience or how it feels to have been through one or more tours of duty.
I can say, however, that I have seen, first-hand, the damage combat can do to people. I had one friend return from Desert Storm profoundly changed by his experience and so deeply disturbed that he genuinely frightened me. And then I have another friend who returned relatively unscathed.
The closest I ever came to military service was obediently submitting my Selective Service form when I turned eighteen. I felt no obligation to serve and was grateful that I never had to (although I likely would have if called).
So, what do I feel about this holiday? Well, I used to work in a VA hospital and I remember seeing lots of patients waiting for treatment in clinic after clinic as I walked through. I don’t believe we (as a country) fulfill the promises we make to our veterans. I am also embarrassed when I witness someone taking their frustration toward an administration’s policies out on the individuals who serve. We are all in this together!
No, I can never fully understand what it means to serve, but I do appreciate the difficult, vital and unique work our servicemen and women do to protect and preserve our way of life AND I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOUR SERVICE; NOT JUST TODAY, BUT EVERYDAY.