As I think about Veterans Day every year, I think about all of the things that it means to me. You see, as a Veteran, it has taken me years to understand that this day is for folks like me.
And while I celebrate today with my family, I don't think of it as my day. I don't think of it as any special day other than a day to reflect and remember some of my troops and leaders, friends and family. Those who went before me and those who will unfortunately go again after me.
But primarily I think of today as any regular day because all of those that I am thinking of, thinking of what they gave, as I did and do, as just a regular day at the office. Not for guts or Glory, not for the girls who love men in uniforms, (Well, sometimes) and not for the pay or education. But just because.
Because it is what our fathers did, and their fathers did. Because it is what some of us must do. Because we can.
But then there are those who go and never return, or so we think. Well as a warrior, once was, and as an American, and as a father and husband and kid of a Warrior. I can say, honestly say that we all return. We are here among you. If not in the flesh trying to teach others that it is our choice and duty to defend our nation. We are in the soil and in the air, the water and the clouds. We are in the flowers and the leaves, the wind and the rain. We are all around you. Not in the memorials or the monuments. Not in the speeches or parades. But in the freedom that we all enjoy. Everything that is free to us is where we are. WHY?
Why? Because, we will never abandon our loved ones. Our bodies may be on the shore of some forgotten beach or in a national cemetery. On a numbered hill in Korea or Vietnam, or in a troop transport waiting to come home in Afghanistan or Iraq. But our spirit, our undefeatable spirit is with our loved ones, here at home. Here where we belong.
So when a hero comes home, don't thank him for his service and go on about your daily lives until next year. Thank God for him and do so every day that you can. Maybe is was Your Father or Mother, husband or wife, son or daughter, friend, client, niece or nephew, neighbor or maybe just that tree in your front yard that was planted 60 years ago in memory of a fallen dad, long before you bought the house. Somewhere in your circle there is someone that gave you your freedom. Maybe it is even you. But I promise you that someone you know gave a little or a lot or maybe all. So Find that person, if in name only and say a prayer of thanks for them because you have that freedom.
That my dear friends is what today is to me.....FREEDOM
Gary De Pury