Lately, with all of the strong feelings and opinions being expressed in our society, I sometimes feel like perhaps we are losing sight of some very important aspects of life, being part of a community, and mainly expressing gratitude and reverence.
This weekend we set aside a day to remember and honor those who have served our country. Often times the term Veteran is used in various contexts incorporating many different types of service and, to some, this may mean that a Veteran is only someone who has given their life in military service or someone who has served in a time of declared war operations. However, it actually describes anyone who has served their country honorably in any military capacity.
Why is this important or even germane to this topic you may ask? Simply because, in my mind, the statement “All gave some, some gave all” is inaccurate and neglects to reflect the degree of sacrifice of everyone who has served honorably. The truth of the matter is, anyone who raised their hand and took the oath, well, they essentially gave all at that moment. You see, at that point, you’re basically taking an oath that you are willing to give your life in the defense of your country, should the need arise.
No one knows for sure whether or not the need to uphold this oath will occur. So, in my view, All Gave All! Now this is not to say that those who gave their lives don’t deserve to be especially revered, just that it is important to recognize the tremendous amount of bravery and courage this oath represents in and of itself.
This brings me to my original point, the need to openly express reverence and gratitude in today’s world. What a world it could be if we endeavored every day to find a different reason to do so.
This Veteran’s Day, no matter your gender, creed, color or theology, if you have the distinct honor and chance to do so in person, with gratitude and reverence, thank a Veteran for their service, remember those who laid down their life for their brothers and sisters beside them, those who heeded the call. Most will humbly just reply with a “you’re welcome” but inside they are likely wishing, in the silence, that they could bring back all whom they have lost and who have gone before them. They long for the parts of themselves, both physically and emotionally, that they left on the battlefield.
This simple act on your part will do wonders to bring solace and healing, to help ease the pangs of guilt and frustration, and begin, at least in some small way, to mend this ever-growing divide in our society. How do I know this? Because… I’m one of them.
– Joe Coppola, CW4, US ARMY (retired)