Honoring Our Veterans
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.
Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
Why Should We Honor Our Veterans?
In my opinion, there is nothing much more honorable that anyone can do other than be willing to sacrifice their own life for that of another. There are many jobs where people put their lives on the line every day to help others, however, for our military members, it goes a little deeper.
When one decides to serve their country, that is not the only sacrifice they make. There is so much more they end up sacrificing and unless you are a veteran, currently serving, or are a family member of someone that served, this is not something most people understand or have a clue about.
Military has a strong presence in my family. I myself am a Navy Veteran. I joined at the age of 18 and served in the US Navy from 1988-1992.
My dad was drafted into the Army to serve in Vietnam from 1967-1969.
I also have 2 sons currently serving and I am so proud of them!
My oldest son joined the US Navy in 2015. He served an 8-month tour in Dubai this past year. Some things that he witnessed and experienced during that time were absolutely horrible and will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Remember when I said that the sacrifice does not always come in the form of loss of ones’s own life? Well, this is one example of that. He witnessed the loss of life of some of his comrades and as I am sure you can imagine, that is not an easy thing to cope with.
Here is my sailor!
Then there is my middle son that joined the Marines in 2017. I will never forget the day he came to me the summer before his senior year saying “Mom, I want to join the Marines…and do not try to talk me out of it!”
I laughed and said “OK, but why the Marines and not the Navy like your brother?” His answer was that the Marines had the jobs he wanted and that he wanted to be the first Marine of the family. And so he was! It was a rough road through the 13 weeks of boot camp, but he put his all in to it (and then some) and made us all so proud!
Here is my Marine on graduation day!
So Why Did I Join the Military?
Great question! Ha!
My mom thought I needed the discipline. When she told me that, I laughed and said “Ha, like you don’t think you did enough of that?” LOL However, it was a different kind of discipline that the military provides.
The military provides structure and instills beliefs and values in you that nothing else can. It really is a sort of discipline that every single person could benefit from, regardless of their upbringing, or of how good or bad of a kid they were.
The summer before my senior year of high school, my mom asked me one day what my plans were for when I graduated from high school.
I honestly didn’t know myself. I thought maybe I would go to college, but I had no definite plans formed yet. So she says, “Well Michele (my cousin) likes the Navy, have you thought about doing that?”
Up until that point, no, I had not considered joining the military. But, I started to give it some thought. Not long after that, my mom and I took a trip to the recruiter’s office. I still wasn’t sure about it and I was kind of torn between the Navy or the Air Force, but they were in the same location and as it happened, I went to the Navy recruiter’s office first.
That was all the further I got. They promised me the world (and then some..LOL). So I entered the delayed enlistment program that day. I went to monthly meetings my entire senior year of high school.
As the time drew closer to my enlistment, I will admit that I got a bit scared and starting thinking “what did I get myself into?”
But in June 1992, I left for boot camp. Will I say those 4 years of service were the best of my life? Nope! Do I regret my decision? Another nope! It made me who I am today. I got to travel the world and meet all kinds of people. It is the reason I am in the job I am today, working to help other veterans find jobs.
Thank Our Veterans
There are not many (if any) veterans that are going to say they joined the military to be recognized. Most will say that they don’t know how to react when someone thanks them for their service. Did any of them sign up so they can get the special discounts a lot of businesses offer military and veterans? Ummm…don’t think so!
But all the same, they do deserve the recognition and even if they are not expecting or wanting a thank you, it does not hurt them to hear it and they so certainly deserve it. So as you are out and about this weekend and you see a veteran, please take a moment and let them know their service is appreciated!
If you have liked this blog or have anything you would like to say about it, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from any of our service members, current or past, with anything you would like to say or any experience you would like to share!
Thanks for taking the time to read this and Happy Veteran’s Day!