I thought I’d do a little research into Veteran’s Day. Kurt Vonnegut fans (and others) will remember it started as Armistice Day after World War 1. The Atlantic had a well-written piece about it two years ago.
I like Armistice Day. I like a day dedicated to peace and recognizing how terrible war is – something I think we need to remember today. It’s been argued that Veteran’s Day encourages a sort of heroism that is more in line with blind Nationalism than truly wanting to serve the country, and I can’t say one way or the other.
We have Veterans Day. I would prefer Armistice Day, but we have Veterans Day. I know many veterans whom I respect not only for their service, but because they are human beings deserving of it. Many of them fought in Iraq or Afghanistan and they did not get to choose why they fought because they had pledged to do service for our country.
Veterans chose to sacrifice part of their lives and risk losing them. For that, I thank them. They did what they had to do, put life and limb on the line in defense of our country. That’s not an easy choice. It is brave and it shows fortitude and I carry a great respect for all members, past and present, of our armed services because they will do what many of us are able to choose not to do, and that is risk their lives in defense of the US.
I know veterans, too, who are ready to jump back in when the time comes. I know veterans who would refuse – their service has given them only a desire for peace. It’s easy to guess which I might sit with at lunch.
So, Veterans Day we have and Veterans Day we will keep – this day is for the living. This is the day to thank those who have fought.