November is a month for gratefulness. Our friends on social media take time from their usual musings and posts to give thanks for all they have. Friday is the day we remember Armistice Day in 1919 the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The Veterans of WWI-which they knew as the Great War-believed they had fought the War to End all Wars.
They couldn't know that the end would be short lived as we entered into a second global armament, followed by a defense against communism in Korea, which opened its next scene in a long effort in Vietnam, a plethora of threats, liberations, and knock-downs through the rest of the Cold War, then the dawn of a costly effort to save the Middle East, and ultimately perhaps the world, from violent zealotry.
This has been our station in life as the United States for the last hundred years. Whether or not it should be is always a matter of debate, but the fact that we do it is undeniable, and comes at great cost with often little gratitude.
Businesses and organizations celebrate Veterans Day in many ways. Parades and concerts are popular. Many businesses offer free or special deals to veterans only on this day. But what can you as an individual do?
There is, ultimately, little we can do for those warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice over the past 250 years. That is the cold, hard and unforgiving reality behind the word "ultimate." There is no healing balm, no prosthetic limb, no program or VFW post that can improve their lives or pour them a beer. They have passed beyond our ability to help, other than by prayer, and that much we should do.
There are nearly 20 million veterans now living in the U.S. You can't honor all of them. But you can do something for one of them.
After all, their sacrifice, their bravery, their honor was personal and individual, and what is more meaningful than a gesture of personal appreciation?
Pick a veteran you know. Take them to lunch. Pay them a visit. Send them a card or give them a call. Just find some way to say you're grateful for what they've done for you personally, and for our country, through their military service.
This week is one not only to show gratitude to the heroes of the past, but also to those who keep the midnight watch and charge into unimaginably dark places in our world today.