As most of you know, today is Veterans Day in the USA, and Remembrance Day in countries of the British Commonwealth, and many European countries as well. In most of the rest of the world, the red poppy is the symbol used to commemorate the day, with a moment of silence at 11:00 AM local time, symbolic of the WWI Armistice starting at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
At varying locations around the US, there will be ceremonies of varying nature. If I go to one, which is unlikely, I prefer the quiet ones. I will spend today quietly with my wife and children because they gave up so much over the years, and while I try to show them daily how much I appreciate them and love them, this day is (for me, anyway) a special day to recognize their sacrifices.
I do not and never have believed that one had to serve in the military to be of service to one’s country or one’s fellow man. I know plenty of teachers who work for decades for shitty pay and public mistreatment in a job that is probably far more critical to our national security than anything I ever did with a rifle. And while I agree that military spending (it hasn’t been Defense spending since the collapse of the Soviet Union) must be cut, and can probably be cut a lot deeper than most people think, I want to take a moment to remind you all that the costs for Veterans’ benefits, military retirement, Veterans’ healthcare and all of the after-affects of war are only going up for the next few years. Taking proper care of the men and women who’ve served is a national moral imperative. For no other reason than because we as a society promised everybody who ever raised their right hand that we would do that very thing.
Thank you to my brothers and sisters who have served, and special thanks to the families who carried on in their absence and waited for them, sometimes in vain. Thank you to the rest of you for everything you do everyday to make the US a country and a people worth serving and fighting for.