Today is Veterans Day. Yesterday was the Marine Corps Birthday. We honoured my Dad, Tim's Dad, Tim's older brother, Tim and all veterans yesterday by taking some flowers to where my Dad is interred at the National Cemetery in Sarasota.
It was a stunningly beautiful day and it is, oddly, a very beautiful and peaceful place so we spent a little contemplative time just walking around reading. It's pretty powerful. And it always brings a few tears to my heart.
As I'm sure you already know, (but it never hurts to be reminded) Veterans Day originally was Armistice Day when World War I was officially brought to a close on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. That was back in 1918.
World War I was supposed to have been the war to end all wars. That was the only way that we could wrap our brains around the horror of it all. By saying that that was it, this was the final one. The feeling was that by declaring a finis to the entire concept of war with this one horrific war, somehow made it worth the sacrifices, the losses and the nightmares.
Of course it wasn't the last war. Because in 1939 there was World War II which was even worse. When it ended in 1945, the name Armistace Day was changed to Veterans Day so that we would be reminded to honour all of our veterans.
Did you ever think about the fact that a large percentage of those young men who served were drafted into service? They didn't even volunteer, they were called upon to do so. It wasn't necessarily their life plan. But they did it anyway. The draft, of course, ended in 1973. And yet, to this day, we still have young men and women willing to go forth into the fray to protect us. Wow.
These people are willing to stand between whatever horror is out there and the rest of us, to fight and even die for us. Total strangers. People they never knew. They are willing to lay down their lives for us if necessary. As Owen Wilson's character in the movie, Armaggedon says, "That's deep blue hero stuff". And no matter how strong they are, nobody can go through it without being changed, somehow. Even if you emerge physically whole, there is no possible way that a person joins the military service and emerges the exact same person they were when they entered.
So we honour them, we thank them, we remember them, because they earned it and they deserve it. They actually deserve so much more, but it's hard to know how to equate what they do and what they are willing to do with a mere gratitude.
The words"Thank you" are not anywhere near big enough.
Please remember to honour the veterans in your life today.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.