Veteran’s Day not appreciated

Published 5:37 pm Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wednesday marks a very special day in America, a day that in my belief is far too underappreciated and one that should be much more anticipated and honored than it is.

Veterans Day is more than a day off from work or school; it is and should be a celebration of the men and women who have made the opportunity to take a day off from work and school possible.

I will readily admit that I am extremely biased when it comes to Veterans Day. My emotion for the day far outweighs any journalistic effort of objectivity, but knowing the distinguished service my grandfathers and father put forth in service to their country is impossible to overcome.

In World War II and Korea, my grandfathers answered the call and served in the Army, one as a career, the other as a member of the reserves. In the late 1960s, my father saw his Coast Guard service ask him to leave the ice breakers of the Arctic for the much steamier climate and smaller river boats of Vietnam.

Each of these men, special to me in many ways, never much spoke of their service overseas, and I never much pressed the question. Their service was theirs. Their stories are theirs. And, their desire to share that with those back home was their choice to make.

Up until the acts of Sept. 11, 2001 my generation did not know war. Yes, we had lived through the weeks and months of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, but those observations were made by a high school student, not someone old enough to serve or fight.

My generation now knows war and loss first hand. Men and women we knew and grew up have gone overseas to serve and yes, some lost their lives in the service of their country.

Today, my generation knows the loss that comes with war and joins those generations of my father and my grandfathers.

But, while Veterans Day is a time to honor and remember our heroes – our veterans – it is also a time to truly celebrate and appreciate their service and for many, their sacrifice. It should also be a time to honor the families of those servicemen and women.

We should show our appreciation for their sacrifice, while their loved ones are away and join in their loss when those loved ones do not return home.

Veterans Day is more to me than just a date on a calendar. It is a day to remember and honor those that made my life, and the enduring opportunity to make my life whatever I chose it to be, possible.

The millions of veterans who have served owe nothing to this country today. They built and strengthened this country and we should ensure their service and their sacrifice are forever remembered.