November 11 is Veterans Day. I’m a veteran, but what I’ve never
really liked about this holiday is that for many, maybe most, it’s
just another day off with pay. Celebrate Veterans Day at the Mall at one
of the sales! Wow! Catch up on chores at the house in honor of a veteran.
Really? I know my cynicism is showing, but that’s not what I want.
I feel like I have worked on every Veterans Day. I have fantasized that
on this national holiday, only the veterans got to take off work. THEY
would gather. . . to what? To remember, and to honor those who served
with them. It would become a day of respect, but not glory. Veterans Day
should be to remember the sacrifices of soldiers and sailors.
My brother-in-law died recently. Although he certainly risked his life
while serving as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, his death was from natural
causes. After he died, one of those with whom he served with sent this
to my sister, his widow:
“I am passing this along . . . to honor my dear friend, Bruce Bonner,
who saved many lives hauling wounded out of hot LZs in his loach [chopper]
during this terrible war. Taking fire, he would not leave until his ship
was full. I consider him the bravest man I have ever known. Tammy, this
is directed to Bruce and his band of brothers. May he rest in peace. God
I did not know this about Bruce. I knew he was in combat, but he never
talked about it. I wish I had known. If I had, Veterans Day would have
been the appropriate time for me to tell him how much I respected what
he did. I’d have told him that I loved him.
Memorial Day is to honor the dead. Veterans Day includes those who are
still living. Maybe you know someone who served. Have anything to tell them?
© Terry Noffsinger