Today is Veteran’s Day in the US. I believe it’s called Remembrance Day in Canada and the UK. Today is the day (the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour) when everyone is supposed to pause and remember the sacrifices made on their behalf by the men and women who wear (and have worn) their country’s uniform.
Sadly, this day all too often is devoid of purpose in this country, having devolved into an excuse for a “sales event” for various hucksters. Some people use this day as an opportunity to advance their particular political or social agenda. A pox on all their houses!
Some of those who go out of their way to denigrate those who have served might be devout pacifists, and truly believe that it is better to die than to take a life. I suspect that most are probably secretly worried that the men and women who have served and fought and sometimes died are superior to them in some way. They have reason to fear this , because it is true.
Not everyone who has served is a saint, of course. The military is not a place for saints. But the men and women who have served have given up part of their lives- sometimes given all of their lives- in the service of those who now mock and belittle them. Service in its truest form- willingly placing themselves in mortal danger so that their countrymen may live in peace at home. “They sleep safely in bed because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” – George Orwell
Those who have never served often cannot understand the Brotherhood of Service. Regardless of which branch of the Armed Forces in which one has served, they are all brothers … and sisters. “We few, we happy few. We band of brothers. For he that sheds his blood with me- be he ne’er so vile- this day shall gentle his condition. And Gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s Day.” – Henry V, by William Shakespeare.
Regardless of branch of service, every man and woman who has ever worn this country’s uniform is my Brother or Sister. Marines may deride sailors (and vice versa), soldiers may make jokes about airmen, but everyone wearing the uniform shares a common culture which is often alien to the culture they protect. These men and women are willing to stand between you and the war’s desolation- whether or not you are worthy of their sacrifice.
Despite the anger I feel at those who sneer at our sacrifice, the pride I feel for those who have served and still serve is greater still. You who try to raise yourselves by degrading those who serve are permitted to do so by the sacrifices of the men and women who have served. It is our privilege to be spat upon and sneered at by those not worthy to shine our boots- because that is what we signed up for. And because of that, we are better than they are.
This post is dedicated to CDR Kiley, who got his ship underway with less than half his crew, but still locked and loaded and ready for war, less than an hour after the first plane hit the towers. It was an honor to sail with you, sir.
Current status: Tired
Current music: 1812 Overture, by Tchaikowski