In our lifetime never have we witnessed the appreciation shown to military veterans as is the practice today.
“Thank you for your service” nearly is as common today as “have a nice day.” We like the former but get tired of the “have a nice day” because often it is used instead of “Thank You”!
This is Veterans Week, or Veterans Year and of course, Veterans Day is this Saturday.
For most veterans, Veterans Day today is nearly every day because the “thank you for your service” is heard all the time, not just on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
For most veterans, military service took two or three, or more, years of our lives. For others, military service turned into a death sentence, or a lifetime of suffering from wounds, or a Purple Heart and recovery.
The majority of veterans are not bitter about civilian-lost-time due to military service. They believe it was the right thing to do — serve a country that had been so good to them in the freedoms given. Some looked forward to military service, after their grandfathers, dads or big brothers had served. They took the training and service in stride.
With the soldiers we served with, we don’t remember much griping. Sure there was some, especially when we disagreed with a training drill, or an order imposed on us. It happened rather often in combat when we disagreed with an order, but we followed it. It’s the training we had — discipline.
The military brings order to your life in so many ways. Your whole service time is following orders. The routine can be boring but overall it’s an orderly way to live. In combat, there is little “spit and polish” and survival is on the mind but the training received and duties that must be performed relieve the mind of some of the stress.
It doesn’t take long to become a combat veteran — the first shelling, or attack
by the enemy, or attack by friendly forces, or witnessing the first casualties, and you are a combat veteran.
You learn to appreciate Mother Earth, and how to enjoy its protection, in a foxhole, bunker or trench line. It also helps when it’s cold or hot. Military service requires a lot of adjustment in one’s life, and how he or she lives. The adjustments are made by the vast majority who serve, and looking back, well, it wasn’t so bad. Time has a way of making the adjustments and many of the discomforts diminish.
The thing you don’t forget is the men you served with. We can’t forget some who did not return. They were good men, too young, too much of a future ahead of them, to pay the price they did. We know some of these men would have made great citizens. Their loss was a great blow for the country and their communities.
Veterans Day for the veterans is packed full of memories — some good, some bad. You never will be free of some of the memories. It was like living in a different world.
But we all learned from the experience. One thing we all learned is, we appreciate another day, as we mourn those who didn’t have another day.