On Nov. 11, another holiday passed by. Most of us probably noticed when we read the morning weather report, or couldn’t buy stamps at the campus post office.
We just had the ever-so-important Halloween, and Thanksgiving is coming up quickly. Why do we need another holiday at such a ridiculous time?
On another Nov. 11, 84 years ago, there couldn’t have been a happier time. Americans, Britons, Germans, Turks, and others around the world were laying down arms and ending the worst war the world had seen. American soldiers knew on that day that their lives were spared, that they would be alive to walk to the post office and find it closed on a November holiday to come.
Coming back to this last week, I saw little to indicate that anyone was remembering the holiday, since changed to honor veterans of all wars ? too many of them occurring after that “war to end all wars.”
When is the last time that you talked to a veteran? Most of you have grandfathers and grandmothers who fought in World War II, and many of your dads spent a hellish year or more in the jungles of Vietnam.
These people came back, scarred by the horrors of war and having given the best years of their lives to the service of their country” ? whether the cause was just or not, they still sacrificed to serve.
I was disappointed by the lack of recognition on campus, just as I am with the level to which the country has forgotten its veterans ?? which books like “The Greatest Generation” are only starting to fix.
The lessons that we can learn from veterans, when we take the time to ask questions of them, are unlimited. We are quickly losing the veterans of World Wars I and II and the Korean War to old age, and even Vietnam War veterans are starting to slip away, often taking their stories with them.
There is nothing that will remind us more of why we should never want to fight than those who have actually seen the horrors of war.
For Vietnam veterans, parents to many of our generation, the return home was a painful one. They had sacrificed “some of the best years of their lives” fighting for an unclear cause, and were blamed and hated when they came home. To this day, many have never had the chance to talk about the war and to heal from the wounds they still have.
When Memorial Day rolls around in May, when we reach another Veterans’ Day and anytime you can, stop and thank veterans. Many have been ignored for their heroism.
Regardless of your views on war, remember what they were required to sacrifice. When you see a veteran, be it a parent, a professor or just someone on the street, help build the greatest memorial possible.
Tell them, “Thank you.”