Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day Is Personal

Today is Veterans Day.  Perhaps one of the most infamous battles ever fought in World War II was on June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy.  These men crossed the English Channel to lend support to our European allies.  As the soldiers disembarked from their ships, the Germans opened fire killing and maiming thousands before they ever had a chance to set foot on land. 

Those that survived the horrors of D-Day probably never thought of themselves as anything more than ordinary people doing their jobs.  They've lived with terrible memories they'd witnessed; most often they've lived in silence unwilling or unable to recount their terrors to anyone.  Many have since passed taking their post-war pain and suffering with them to their graves.

On June 6, 1944, I was living in my mother's body unaware that my freedom was so gallantly being contested.  I was enveloped in the warmth and security of my mother's womb.  I wasn't listed on any population census count as yet. Most would agree, for all practical purposes, I was a non-entity at that point.

Yet there were countless men and women fighting and dying for my right to live free, to exist in peace, and have a chance to realize my full potential.  They didn't know I would be born on September 9, 1944.  They had no idea that because of their sacrifices, I would enjoy the benefits of their actions for the next 69 years and beyond.  They were unaware that I would have opportunity to receive an education, become a teacher, an administrator, and a life-long child advocate.  They couldn't have imagined that I would marry, have three beautiful children of my own, and in time, be a grammy to seven healthy, happy grandchildren born into the embracing arms of freedom and peace.

I didn't personally know any of these heroes.  Why they fought so hard for someone like me who wasn't even born at that time, I can only speculate.  I believe there are many, many people in our world who step out of their own comfort zones because they care deeply for the rights of others.  And because of their concern, they are compelled to take action, to go the distance, to give of themselves beyond the call of duty.  To even die for what they so ardently hold to be true.

Today and every day of our lives we need to be grateful for the sacrifices that were made during World War II as well as the many other conflicts our United States have engaged in over the years. 

Because of the men and women who gave and still give everything they have so that coming generations would be free, we need to support our veterans in every way possible. Getting my hair cut to call attention to our continuing obligation to the soldiers returning home from conflict wouldn't have much of an effect.  I'm not famous and don't have nearly as much hair on my head that I once had.  But, celebrities like Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers who is famous for his lustrous locks, is offering his hair, albeit only three inches, as a way of showing his personal support of all military veterans

Veterans Day is personal for Troy and his family.  Veterans Day is personal for me.  Veterans Day is personal for everybody who enjoys the freedom we received from the heroic men and women who have fought and died, and will continue to fight and die so that we might live in the warmth and security of our nation's womb.  Take it personally; support our veterans!