Today is Veterans Day, a holiday that honors all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Unlike Memorial Day, which specifically honors those who have died while in service, today is a day to recognize everyone who has served and those who are currently serving.

As I drove to work this morning, I was in tears as I listened to the stories that callers were sharing on the radio.  Stories of heroism.  Stories of separation – of spouses missing their partners, children missing a parent, parents missing their children.  Stories of injuries that will never heal, of lost limbs, of shattered sanity.  Stories of grieving, of seats at the table that are no longer filled, of a folded flag and 21-gun salute.

Underlying in every one of those calls?

Unmistakable pride.

Take a moment to honor all veterans today – in words, in deeds, in thoughts.

I can’t even begin to write a complete list of the deserving, but here is a fragment:

  • The soldier patrolling in a war zone at this very moment
  • The elderly woman who saved lives as a Navy nurse in World War II
  • The mess hall cook who prepares and serves food
  • The maintenance tech who keeps equipment safe and running
  • The old man who stormed the beach at Normandy
  • The grandfather who spent two years in the jungles of Vietnam
  • The single parent who flies aircraft in Afghanistan
  • The husband who spends the majority of the year on a submarine
  • The mother who was killed while traveling in a convoy
  • The father who missed the birth of his first child while he was deployed
  • The officer who has nightmares about the men he has lost
  • The military doctor who cared for the Jews in the liberated concentration camps
  • The clerk who manages payroll and makes sure that military personnel get paid
  • The drill sergeant who devotes his life to training new recruits
  • The reservist who is prepared to abandon his civilian life at a moment’s notice if duty calls
  • The chaplain who does everything in his power to bring peace and comfort to those who need it
Veterans Day: All Have Given Some

Veterans Day: All Have Given Some

We will always, always revere those who were called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives.  They deserve nothing less than our highest regard and solemn respect.  They truly gave all.

However, let us not forget that every veteran is significant.  No matter what specific service their country demanded of them during their time in uniform, every person took the same oath, swearing to defend their country to the death.  All veterans have given some: they took risks, made sacrifices, and stepped up, declaring proudly and without fear “I am willing to die.”

Honor them all, America.

Honor them all.

— Veteran, U.S. Army, honorably discharged 2005
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