Well, because today is Veteran’s Day, I am going to make today about being thankful to those who served in our armed forces.
I am not always a fan of the military in general – the institution. But, I realize that the world we live in requires our country to have a foundation of willing individuals in order to protect us. I am thankful that there are those who are willing. I am thankful that there are those who are willing AND able. When I debated competitively in college, some of my favorite people to debate against were from the military academies. But, I must admit that it made me sad to think that when they graduated, some of them would end up in Iraq or Afghanistan (I debated in the late 90s) and would have to see and experience things that no human should have to see or experience. I also know family members of friends who have traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas of the world and have come back different people.
I wish we lived in a world where a military wasn’t necessary. Or, even if they existed, there was not a need for them to be in conflict situations. I also wish we treated our veterans better and were able to figure out how to give them the support they need upon return more often. So many of our homeless are veterans. So many of those who struggled and lost houses were veterans. So many of the unemployed are veterans. I think we budget an inordinate amount of money on the actual fighting, but we don’t consider the long-term costs and are not willing to increase that spending accordingly. I appreciate the programs like Starbucks and other companies are instituting for Veterans but it is not enough and it is not our whole country making sacrifices/giving back.
I realize that I should do more myself. There is a larger veteran population returning to college nowadays and I should look into ways I can get involved to help them be able to find success. There is probably something we could all do, more often than once a year on Veteran’s Day, to show our gratitude. That is something I am going to try to remember to check into for the coming semester.
So, today, my thankfulness goes to those who have served. And I hope that it will serve as a reminder that they deserve more than just a passing recognition once a year.