Another Veterans Day has come and gone, and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed in my household.
I hope folks took the time to understand what it means, especially to those of us who have served.
As Air Force veterans, the day is important for both my wife and I.
Like our freedoms themselves, the opportunity to celebrate those who have voluntarily sacrificed to serve their country is something we don’t take for granted.
Veterans Day is just not another day off to us, and in reality, it’s probably not to any veteran.
Serving in the military is something most would never consider, but it’s a calling for some. It’s hard to explain.
Being a veteran is being part of a strong brotherhood, whether you were in the Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy or even the Coast Guard. We stand together for the good of our fellow man.
Serving is not about free stuff or benefits - those don’t amount to much. In fact, if you asked a thousand veterans, I doubt you’d find more than a handful who said they joined because of the education benefits, the opportunity to travel the world, free uniforms and the incredibly good pay (that’s a joke!). No, it’s deeper than that.
It’s also not about free meals and discounts on Veterans Day, though those are greatly appreciated.
When you understand people in many other countries are treated as numbers instead of humans, when their governments control every aspect of their lives and all the information they receive, it’s a bit easier to understand.
Sadly, too many people don’t.
“Freedom” is a word tossed around pretty loosely, but when you really think about it, and compare our American way of life to those in places like China, Venezuela or North Korea, you see we have it pretty good. And, you can thank veterans for that.
Anyway, the next time you run across an old fellow proudly wearing his USS Midway cap or his old Army uniform from decades ago in a special ceremony, or even someone with a “Navy Mom” T-shirt on, I hope you take a minute to reflect on your good fortune and maybe give them a pat on the back for the sacrifices they’ve made on your behalf.
Davis is a staff writer, outdoors editor and photographer for the Daily American Republic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.