Why We Honor Veterans

We have become a nation, if not a world, of daily celebrations. There is a day for everything now. In fact, we just recently celebrated national chocolate day. Don’t get me wrong. I love chocolate as much as the next guy, but really? Really? It feels like all 365 days of the year are now assigned to some random thing that was pulled out of hat. And now it gets it’s own day. Can we just stop it already?

Not everything deserves it’s own day.

I’m all for inclusion and recognition but does yarn really need a full 24 hours every year to be reminded of it’s wonderful warming qualities? Of how amazing the art of knitting is? On a side note, there is no day for yarn, but there is a National Knitting Week. A week. It gets a whole week. Someone thought of this. And now it’s a thing. 

In fact, some days actually overlap now. We have gotten so honor happy that some things are forced to share the same day now. It’s a travesty. Wait, no. No it’s not. 

The travesty is excess. The loss of true remembrance. The ability to honor. 

The Webster Dictionary definition of honor is, “Respect that is given to someone who is admired.” Like veterans. It feels like the days that really matter, like Memorial Day and Veterans Day have started to just blend right in. People post their pictures. But do we really think about it? Get it?

The truth is, veterans deserve all 365 days. You heard me. 

For those of us who have friends and family members who are veterans, I think it means something different. And even then, it doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. 

The sacrifices that are made are unspeakable. Life long. I have a friend from high school who recently told me he could not attend our 20 year high school reunion because he wouldn’t know what to talk to anyone about. He stayed home and hung out with other vets and talked about friends he lost overseas instead. His life will never be the same. I will never begin to comprehend what he has given. And I am forever thankful for that sacrifice. 

And what concerns me even more are the statistics on suicide and PTSD with veterans. I realize these are extremely raw and tough subjects but if these men and women were willing to fight and die for us then I think it’s about time we be willing to get a little uncomfortable and start fighting for them. Because they are being lost at an astonishing rate. And not overseas. Right here. Home field advantage and everything. 

We have no excuse.

We can do better.

We should be doing better.

You might be wondering how. Well, start with your own family. Your own group of friends. Your neighbors. Your church community. The veterans you know. Start communicating. Talking. Reach out to those people who have given so much for us. 

In some cases they may not want to talk at all, and that is ok. But you would be surprised how much a Grandfather or an Uncle might have to say about his experience. Or what they may get out of it, just knowing that you care, that you want to know. That what they did, gave, mattered. Still matters after all this time. 

And there is so much that we can do to say thank you. Make dinner for a neighbor who you know is a vet. Shovel their drive way. Mow their lawn. Buy them groceries. 

Or just say thank you. Tell them. And mean it. 

But whatever we do, let’s not just let this be another day. Another quick nod and then we are on with our very busy lives. Our chocolate, our yarn and our coffee cups. Because this matters so much more than all of that.

So today, Veterans, I honor you. Because without your sacrifice I would not have all the freedoms that can so easily be taken for granted. I owe you a debt that I will never be able to repay. Ever. 

A million times, thank you.