Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day Thoughts

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With all our attention on the recent election results, we might forget to commemorate Veterans Day on this November 11th. The date lets us remember the armistice signed during WWI on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was to be the war to end all wars. Sadly, that was not to be. 

We recognize our veterans today, both men and women, who have served in both peacetime and during wars. Those who served and the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice deserve our gratitude today. 

Many restaurants are giving free meals to vets. Some communities celebrate with parades and speeches given by local dignitaries. Veterans of our armed services range from the very young to the frail and feeble aged. 

I am reminded of the elderly British man who was part of our tour group a few years ago to the beaches of Normandy where the D-Day invasion took place on June 6, 1944. His story started in England when he lied about his age to join the Royal Navy. He was 16 when he landed on the beach in Normandy that summer day so long ago. He'd survived but had never been back. Now, as an old man, he wanted to revisit the place where he shook like a leaf as he plunged through the water and onto the beach with comrades falling around him. He did what he'd been trained to do and for some reason, the German bullets missed him. I watched as he stood on a bluff looking down at the quiet scene below--waves gently lapping the sand, the beach now empty, no sign of what had been those many years before. What played through his mind? Surely he could hear and see the sounds and sights of that June day even while looking at the deserted beach. I hope that he has been thanked for his service many times. 

A simple thank you means so much to a veteran. Whether it was said the day they returned home or years later, it will be remembered by that person forevermore. Say it now to a serviceman or woman you see in your grocery store or at your child's baseball game. Say it to the the old guy with the Vets cap on his balding head. Say it to the young cadet at West Point. 

My husband served in the U. S. Army after he graduated from college. He was one of those who served 6 months active duty and then 7 years in the Reserves after the Korean War and before Vietnam. How fortunate he was in that respect. His service increased the patriotism he had been taught as a young boy. My thanks go to him today along with the thousands and thousands of other men and women who served.

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