Some days its hard to think about what to write about. Today is not. Today is Veterans Day. It used to be call Armistice Day,because it was at was on November 11, 1918 at 11am that the Armistice ending World War I went into effect. (They didn't call it that of course. It was The Great War, or the war to end all wars. We know how that went.) In many countries that participated in The Great War it is customary to observe a moment of silence at this time.
In my family a number of people have served in the military. 2 of my uncles served in WWII, one in the Tank Corps in Africa and the other in the Air Service in California. My dad served in the Army in Germany in the 50's, in the early years of the Cold War. Several of my cousins served during the Vietnam War. More recently I have a cousin who has been in and out of both Iraq and Afghanistan a number of times. I am grateful for the service of each and every one of them. I am especially grateful that those of the prior generations were all able to do their time and return home safely again.
I am grateful for all the others who have served our country through the years as well. Because my teenage son has a great interest in military history I have watched a lot of documentaries over the years the various History and Discovery channels. I am always astounded by the bravery of so many of my fellow Americans. And I never cease to be moved by the stories of all those who never made it back home from the service of their country.
One of my son's heroes is the late Indians pitcher Bob Feller. Among his many sports accomplishment there is also the fact that he was one of the first ballplayers to enlist in the Army immediately after Pearl Harbor; despite the fact that he was the sole support of his family and therefore exempt from service. My son likes to quote, especially on Veteran's Day, something Mr Feller used to say:
"I'm no hero. Heroes don't come back. Survivors return home. Heroes never come home. If anyone thinks I'm a hero, I'm not." I happen to disagree.It may feel that way when one is on the inside, but this isn't how it looks to one of those on whose behalf they are serving. All these people go off to war not knowing whether or not they will come home. They take that chance for sake of their country. That is the sacrifice that matters. As far as I'm concerned, war time or peace time, everyone who serves is a hero.
Today is their day. And I am grateful to every one of them.