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If you watched the Cowboys-Jaguars game on Sunday, you probably noticed both teams wore a patch. The patch featured a poppy flower, which holds a lot more meaning than just being your run of the mill flower on a football jersey. The poppy commemorates the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918, and it also honors veterans.
Weary and fearful soldiers on the battlefield used the poppy as an inspiration for the hope and innocence of a better tomorrow. In July, the people of London began planting these poppies at the Tower of London to honor the fallen WWI veterans. More than 888,000 ceramic poppies were planted to remember the fallen British soldiers. The display has been named Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, and it is an amazing tribute to those veterans.
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” – George Washington
There are roughly 22 million American veterans along with about 2.28 million active duty and reserve or guard service members today. You pass them on the street. They are in your classes. They are prominent members of your community. While military veterans don’t actively seek out an ovation for their service, today, they deserve the biggest standing ovation we can give them. Military members have served us for nearly 250 years. These are the men and women who gave up their everyday lives in America to risk their lives in foreign lands, hoping to protect ours back home. That is a sacrifice that should be rejoiced.
Some people misinterpret the meaning of Veterans Day. They chastise us for celebrating war, when in fact, they could not be further from the truth. We are not necessarily celebrating military policies–today is a day that we should celebrate and remember the greatest form of selfless citizenship. The bravery and dedication that each of them gave for us is something that should be celebrated. Take out the politics of war and put yourself in their shoes. Could you stand on the front lines facing someone who wants to kill you? One percent of Americans can. It seems like such a small number that gives us such a huge impact.
Without these men and women, there would be no one to shield us from the malicious world. There are people out there whose only goal is to inflict harm upon Americans, and our military is made up of people who will take a bullet for you so you don’t have to. So today, thank a veteran. Buy him or her a drink or a coffee. At the very least, shake a veteran’s hand, tip your hat, or a pat one on his or her back. Let these brave people know that you truly appreciate what they have done. Celebrate how they made it home safely. Celebrate the fact that they have paid the price for our citizenship. While they may not ask for it, we owe it to them. Our appreciation means more to them than many of us could possibly imagine.
A simple thanks could make a life or death difference for a veteran suffering from PTSD. They have had our “SIX” 365 days a year, since 1775. All of us can take, at the very least, one day to go out of our way to show our veterans that we have their “SIX” as well. Thank you. God bless our military and those who have served..