Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

This day can mean different things to different people. For some, it's another vacation day. To some, it's just another day to work. But for veterans and their families, it can mean so much more.
Both of my grandfathers, my dad, my uncle, and my brother served in the armed forces. I have a host of great-uncles who also served. I grew up in a home filled with pride for the armed forces. My dad served in Vietnam, and while he does talk about the war itself, he always mentions support of our troops and our country.

More recently, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have many people in my own town who have served in these countries. One is a person whom I consider one of my oldest and dearest friends. Two others that I went to high school with were injured.
I was reading, on a page on the History Channel's website this morning. Trying to find something to write about on this day that means so much to me. On this "fact page" there was a statistic (from the census bureau, according to the bottom of the page) that I felt like I should share with all of you. Yes, the election is over now, but this statistic blew me away:

The number of veterans who voted in the 2004 presidential election was 17.4 million. Seventy-four percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 63 percent of nonveterans.
14 million veterans voted in the 2006 congressional election. Sixty-one percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 46 percent of nonveterans.

Immediately, I knew the reason for this vast difference in percentages of voters. The people who served in the armed forces (and their families) see the reasons to vote. In some ways, I think they see it more clearly than those of us who haven't served.

Arlington National Cemetery
Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers
World War II Memorial
The Vietnam Memorial (The Wall)
Iwo Jima (USMC Memorial)
And 9/11. Not a monument yet, but a reminder of a day that our security was taken away from us.
Today, the two veterans that I am closest to both have to work. I think it's sad. My dad has never gotten a Veteran's Day off. It's kind of sad that I sit here at home right now, in my pajamas, taking a day off that I feel like I don't deserve.
Regardless of what your stance is on the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, support the people who are serving and have served at any time in the Nation's armed forces. They have seen and done and sacrificed things that no person should ever have to. And if you know a Veteran, give him or her a call today, or send an e-mail and let them know you appreciate their service to this country. You may brighten their day.


Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

Yeah, ironic isn't it? Veterans Day was never an 'optional' holiday before. Thanks for this poignant post, Cara :)

My new bumper sticker: "Have you hugged a veteran today?" :)

Donna said...

God bless your military family & friends for their service & sacrifice for our country. Great post, Cara.