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Why Is Veteran's Day Important?

The case can be made that particularly in America we have stepped away from national pride, respect for our history (whether good or bad history), deference to our elders, and tribute to our nation's warriors.

It seems hip now for an American to be anti-American and lambast the freedoms and opportunities that we have and merely hyperfocus solely on our nation's flaws as if it were the core of our national values.

America is not perfect. It never was. But what America is – is the idea that individual men and women can create and develop themselves freely in a shared society. Without intervention or interrogation by the government or its authorities. And while not perfect, we are a hell of a lot better than most other countries. But many people, especially those who have never spent time offshore in hostile lands, fail to realize and appreciate that.

People that join the military typically join for self interested reasons. Many joined the military for an opportunity to pay for college, as a secure means of employment to provide for their family, or they feel they just don’t have any other opportunities out in the civilian world. Every once in a while you’ll find that unicorn that joined the military in the spirit of service to our country. Neither reason is wrong and neither reason is right. But what is true is that these individuals took an oath, went through grueling training, and wrote a blank check with their lives saying that if the day came that they were called to face America’s enemy they would do so, even if it meant the ultimate sacrifice.

According to the pew research foundation, less than 1% of Americans served in the US military. I’ve met people that have never met a veteran in their lifetime. These aren’t people living in caves or in the middle of the woods. These are people who live in populated cities like New York, Miami, and even Oklahoma City.

Veterans Day should not be about a day off or a free meal at Applebee’s. It should be a day to recognize those that at some point in their life signed their names at the bottom of a blank check for their life and suspended their life in the civilian world to be part of something bigger than themselves – whether they knew this or not when they initially enlisted

We have to teach our children about Veterans Day, what it means, why service to others is important even if it’s not in the military. It’s an opportunity to have open and frank discussions asking why do people join the military, why do they stay, why do they leave? Veterans Day should be an opportunity for all Americans and those that want to be Americans to reflect on what it means to be an American. And to reflect on the many sacrifices that our veterans endured so that we can enjoy the society that we do.

Veterans Day is a day that we can than ask the questions to those who were next to those whom we celebrate on Memorial Day. So I encourage you to find a veteran and thank them for their service and they will thank you for your support. Let’s honor our history instead of trying to bury it. Let’s learn and celebrate our veterans by engaging them instead of performative gestures and tweets of #HappyVeteransDay

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