Today is Veterans Day. For those of you who get this confused with Memorial Day (which honors those who died while in Military service), here is the description of Veterans Day according to Wikipedia:

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

I personally have never served in the armed forces and won’t begin to imagine what that was like for those who have served. Whenever I can, I have thanked anyone that is clearly in the service or has served in the past. Fatigues are a good indication of someone who is active, however Veterans will have shirts or hats that show the group they were assigned to. I often see Veterans at the local diner when we go to dinner and have purchased their meals for them multiple times. Sometimes I tell them it’s on me, other times I just quietly pay for it if they look like they don’t want to be bothered (body language tells a lot about someones mood).  Small gestures and recognition are the least I can do and it is done out of respect and admiration; never out of pity.

There are some that say that are military is too big, too aggressive, too expensive. While I believe that missiles at $1 million each and planes that are $4 billion each is somewhat excessive, I have never questioned money spent on the people who fill the uniforms and put their lives on the line for me. I personally think that all of us should be grateful and humbled for the service they perform. They’re fighting for their own individual reasons, following orders, doing what is asked of them; we should absolutely at the very least thank them for their service protecting and serving us, not our country. A personal thank you for them protecting me is more sincere I think and doesn’t lump me into the collective “American” public. There are times in our past that we as a people didn’t give our servicemen and servicewomen the respect they deserved. My father-in-law served in Vietnam on an aircraft carrier, something he didn’t admit until the mid-90’s, and continues to have horrible experiences with the Veterans Administration. There is a lot more we can do as individuals and as a country.

On this day, I want to express my whole-hearted THANK YOU to everyone who has served and protected the people of the United States. Your service is honorable and will never be forgotten.