We think of our veterans 365 days of the year, but don't often take the time to say thanks. Veterans Day, November 11 is the one day of the year that America marks for doing just that.
Growing up in the late 50's and early 60's as children we had a healthy respect for Veterans. The country as a whole had a great respect for it's Veterans. After all everyone's Dad and some Mom's were Veterans. Most of us didn't hear much of their service, but as I said in previous posts, I felt as a child as if I was a Marine because you know, in my family we learned things all Marine.
My brother and I and our friends used to play "Army" around the streets and woods of our neighborhood. It was something that was not frowned upon at the time. We played "combat and rat patrol" (TV series back then). We grew up looking at Veterans as heroes. They were role models. Of course, at the time we were just kids.
We became teenagers in the late 60's and early 70's. Vietnam was gearing up and in full swing. We watched the TV nightly, saw body counts and heard of the battles and other horror stories. By now, there were protests all over the country. Many of those friends that we played "combat" with were on one side of the fence or another. Facing the enemy.. or openly protesting the war. My male friends were always wondering when their number would come up and what they would do when it did.
It was a far different climate during that time. Respect for folks in uniform was at an all time low. You didn't see many, if any, folks thanking those Veterans for service to their country. The country was deeply divided. Some military personal, while wearing their uniforms were spat on by protesters. It was a trying time. One that we should not forget and that taught us a lesson.
I think in part because of that lesson and horror of 911, Veterans of subsequent conflicts and wars are treated with a renewed respect. And rightly so.
My Dad wears his Iwo Pin proudly. One day along time ago, a random young guy came up to him and said, "Thank you for your service!" My Dad smiled warmly and said "You are welcome, young man".
It brought a tear to my eye then and it does now when I think of that one tiny moment in my life.
What I learned from that one small interchange was that it is never too late to say Thank you. It doesn't have to be on Veterans Day that we do it either. But, November 11 is the day Americans set aside for voicing our appreciation.
Thanks for your service... Thanks for your sacrifice.... Thanks for standing up for the rest of us...Thanks being for the role models that you are...
P.S. As a country we owe it to these folks that stand tall for all of us to keep their benefits in place and to take care of them when they need our help. That, is the least we can do.
Al and Cal Realty Group