As some of you might be aware, next week the US will be celebrating a holiday. It’s not a big holiday that many people notice. We don’t miss school or exchange presents. Holy Mother Church does not require us to attend Mass. Yet, in my family it is a holiday that we remember and that causes us to pray. Next Friday, November 11, is Veteran’s Day.
My father is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He was a Green Beret, something I am proud of. My father is a hero. He answered the call of his country when many were reluctant or were running away from her borders to avoid the draft. He still bears the scars, both emotionally and physically, yet he’s still proud to be an American.
This Veteran’s Day, send a note to a veteran you know. Everyone in the US knows a veteran, a soldier, a hero. Just tell them thank you. They never hear that enough.
Now, I know many are opposed to the war in the Middle East. I’m not saying yay or nay towards that mess. As Christians, we are called to pray for peace. Yet, let us recall the words of Pope Paul VI, “If you want peace, work for justice.” We are all called to pray for peace, and if you are Catholic, please note you are also called to work for justice. Everyone else, you should be working for justice too: social justice, environmental justice… these are important and being overlooked by many in our “I” driven world today.
If you want to read it, here is an article I found on Thanking Veterans. You can find the original at http://www.forcerecon.com/veteran.htm
What is a Veteran?
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.
You can't tell a vet just by looking.
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She - or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.
He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies
unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.
Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".