Today many countries take the time to thank their veterans. Here are some thoughts on this day.
Did you know that the United States had the draft until 1973? At that point our armed services became a completely voluntary force. Stop for a moment and think about that. Up until 1973 every male 18 and older was required to serve. Many of the older men you see daily have military experience. Do find that hard to understand?
There is much debate on the roles of women in the armed services and combat. There is the belief in some quarters that combat is to difficult for the “delicate” sex to handle. Let’s get real kids. Women have been serving in combat since 1776. Yep, that is right. Women dressed as men and women in those dress with acres of fabric. They also served as nurses and cooks. They didn’t get special accommodations, but dealt with the same issues as the men. These women are examples of faith in our countries ideals.
We are blessed in the U.S.A to not have experienced open warfare on our shores since WWII. In that war Guam and the Philippines experienced combat. With our armed services being voluntary forces much of the population believes that they are exempt from the experience of war. The percentage of those directly affected is smaller than WWI and WWII, but it does exist. There are people you went to school with you will never see at a class reunion. The co-worker who disappeared from the lunchroom? They’re serving in Afghanistan and haven’t seen their family in 10 months. The house in the neighborhood that is slow on the yard work? Mom is in Iraq and Dad has a hard time balancing the three kids under 10 and the yard.
My point is that we feel more connected today and yet often we aren’t. We can search and view anything on Google and YouTube, but what about those around you and what they are going through? I recently saw a post about how showing the images of war would make it more “real” for people. Do you truly believe that? The way I see it the information is there. It is with our veterans and those who have come to our country fleeing the horror of war. If the only way to make war real for people is to show bodies and caskets on the evening news we are a sad lot. Since this isn’t the first time I have heard this argument I have a reply. First, my brother’s death is not a political talking point. When he was defending his country he belonged to his country. When he gave his life he came home to his family. There are those who like to bash the hell out of our military until they are killed in action. Then they want to put their names on t-shirts and make a profit. Second, if you can find the Muppets performing Shakespeare in Japanese on the internet you can find ways to volunteer with veterans, those currently serving and their families.
Thank you to all who have served and their families. Your sacrifices have given me the freedom to write this blog.
Peace and blessings.