This time each year, millions of people say “Happy Veterans Day”… and I can’t help but feel that it is a bit unkind to our men and women who serve. Celebrating the self-sacrifice of those who died serving their country is worthy and honorable. Being happy about it is not. Semantics? Maybe. But Veterans Day is a solemn occasion for most surviving vets and the families of all involved in the conflicts that ended the lives of so many.
When friends of ours die, we mourn for quite some time. When soldiers die in the arms of their fellows, the survivors mourn that loss forever. They can’t think about those moments without reliving the pain of that moment. Imagine holding the torso of your best friend, moments after an explosion. The horror must be unbearable. Seeing your squad leader’s head evaporate into a red mist, coating your face and body. Watching a helicopter explode with eight people on board, all of whom you knew.
So as we remember the sacrifice of those fallen soldiers, please remember the surviors as well and the horrors they endured to return home. We all thank them for their service, but it is also appropriate to express sorrow for the losses they experienced regardless of how much time has passed. Hug a veteran today, and let them know how much their service has really meant to all of us in America.