This week has been a rollercoaster for our nation—and whether you’re happy, sad, hopeful, or in despair, please take today to put aside whatever you’re feeling and remember that there is a large group of people who have given freely of themselves and deserve our unencumbered respect and thanks. Today was first honored nearly one hundred years ago in 1918 for the armistice—the agreement to peace amidst World War I. Our world has since witnessed practically continual hostilities, but for at least one day each year, we need to remember peace and those who stood on the front lines for it.
Veterans Day is a day set aside for us to honor all those who have served in our nation’s Armed Services. We thank them for the sacrifices that they have made and what they have endured—sacrifices that many civilians are unwilling or unable to make. They bravely took orders to go to the most frightening places on earth and fought for our country and its beliefs. Even when civilians debated whether those beliefs were in everyone’s best interests, these men and women served holding their heads high.
But their service, voluntary or demanded, did not leave them unscathed. Many returned home not knowing how to process what they saw, what they lived. They suffer from PTSD and other service-related physical and mental health trauma. Many are homeless, while others appear to function normally but self-medicate using substances. Most distressing is the high rate of suicide, which is nearly double that of civilians. Incredible ideas and programs have popped up around the nation to lift these men and women up and get them help—programs that deserve recognition and publicity more than one day a year.
So thank veterans for doing what so many saw as their duty, for their service, for their sacrifices. Listen to them. Be there for them. Honor them more than one day a year.