To All Who Served, We Stand to Honor This Veteran’s Day

Tom Anselm

Tom Anselm

by Tom Anselm

We come upon a date this weekend that commemorates those who have served in our armed forces. Originally called Armistice Day on Nov. 11 of 1919 to mark the end of The War to End All Wars, World War I, it became a national holiday in 1938. The day was later fixed as the 11th day of the 11th month. The purpose of such a commemoration is to pay tribute to those men and women, living and dead, who were members of the military of these United States in peace and in war.

Who are these people, these veterans? By the numbers, they are part of the estimated 50-to57 million who wore the uniform. Some sources say that of these, 13 million are still alive. More specifically, they are your neighbors, your co-workers, your relatives, your police officers, your firefighters.

They are your pilots, your construction workers, teachers and politicians. But who are they, even more specifically. Well, here is a small attempt at an answer.veteran shadow logo

They are Gary, who joined the Army during the Vietnam War, came home and with wife Nancy, raised some great kids, one of whom is our son-in-law. They are Bob, also in that same Southeast Asian war, and Mike, and countless others who didn’t come home, didn’t get to meet the love of their life, get job, have a family. They are Molly, who went to the desert and now is home with a new little baby boy.

They are Gary, who joined the Army during the Vietnam War, came home and with wife Nancy, raised some great kids, one of whom is our son-in-law. They are Bob, also in that same Southeast Asian war, and Mike, and countless others who didn’t come home, didn’t get to meet the love of their life, get job, have a family. They are Molly, who went to the desert and now is home with a new little baby boy.

They are Jack, a Marine who was blasted into the air on the island of Okinawa, who another Marine saw get hit and immediately thought he was gone. Only to find out years later in a book called “Voyage to Perdition” that, miraculously, he not only survived but also raised a great family with his lovely wife Betty. They are John, spending his last days in dementia in a nursing home. There are hundreds and thousands, millions, like these, some of whom I have known, some of whom I still see.

And there is Chris. A Marine, served in Afghanistan. Came home safe. But the demons of addiction took him away, far too soon. Again, hundreds, thousands like him, some gone, some still trying to find their way. I honor them all because they gave of themselves, of their time. Too many, of their lives.

These are the veterans. Look around this Nov. 11. Maybe the guy in line at the grocery store is one. The nurse at the hospital. The homeless man at the street corner. The carpenter building your house. The banker, the butcher, the truck driver.

To them, and to all who proudly call themselves “Veteran”, I stand and gratefully say,

       “Thank you for your service.”

veterans day 2017



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