Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

I am not very political. In fact, I tend to shy away from all things controversial in the world unless I happen to be an expert in the subject. And, uhhmm...there's very little that I'm an expert on. And I certainly didn't pay a whole lot of attention in World History class-- I can't even remember who my teacher was (but I do remember the boy in the front row whom I asked to prom!). So now that you know how completely shallow I am where history and political science are concerned, it won't surprise you that I haven't ever considered Veterans Day as much more than a day off of school. Even today, I was mostly concerned with keeping tabs on the kids as they celebrated the four-day weekend by scattering off to friend's houses. And once, I thought "oh yeah--Veterans Day" as I fished around in the mailbox to find it empty.

One summer I had this boring job where I sat around in an office break room with a bunch of old farts, waiting to shuttle cars from here to there. So one day I decided to suck up my pride, put my naivety and poor schooling on my sleeve and start asking some questions about what it was like to have been a part of WWII. I thought it would be fantastic to hear it from the horse's mouth...real historical figures in my midst! I'm sure my eyes began to glaze over as they started to relay information that was so far out of my frame of reference that I was soon overwhelmed completely. However, that day sparked a desire in me to know the wars in America's History. There are a whole generation of Americans that had their lives changed by WWII. As if gentrification wasn't enough, to think that the major thing that changed you isn't even known, much less understood or remembered would be a little lonely and frustrating I think. There are a whole new generation of Americans that are being effected by the wars in the Gulf and Middle East. Will our grandchildren know what 9/11 is? Will they be able to explain the "War on Terror" as more than a Jon Stewart punchline?
As much as I wasted the bulk of this holiday not considering our country's veterans, I do think about my brother every day. He's in Iraq for the second time. He will have missed two birthdays and Christmas with family by the time he gets back. So if today I don't further my education of the veteran's experience, I will consider the sacrifices my brother, and therefore all the people currently serving our country, are making. I am proud of him for serving something bigger than himself, and because of him I am a little more proud to be American...and a little more political, too. So thank you, Chris, for showing America's sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations... you are in my prayers, I love you and miss you!
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
President Wilson, November 1919

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wendy,your touching thoughts and reflections brought a tear to my eye and touched my heart. Your writings are an enlightenment to us all. May it help us put life in perspective and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy. I am so very proud of you. With love and hugs, Mom