Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

It's been exactly one year since I wrote my last blog post.  Don't know exactly why.  It just didn't seem like fun any more and I was running out of things to say, or so I thought.  I've been re-thinking all that and today looks like a good day to try again.

I've been moved to write on several occasions by the magnitude of the events of the day, or a day in perspective.  Thus my various posts on Memorial Days, Veterans Days and, last year, on June 6.  D-Day.  It seems to me that days like those should hold special meaning for all of us.  They don't, though.  

As before, few discern a difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  Our local rag has the obligatory flag-at-a-cemetery photo.  Its story explains that some people will "... pause to remember men and women who served, and died, as members of the U.S. military."  Some will, of course, but that's not what today is about.  On the inside is a continuation headlined "Names of 6,200 killed in wars will be read at UO."  The UO is also sponsoring a 5k "Run for the Fallen" today.  These are fine things, no doubt, but they don't capture or even acknowledge the meaning of Veterans Day.  I'm a veteran and I'm not yet fallen.  Is today not about me as well?  The poster is pretty clear about it:  "Honoring All Who Served".  Why can't we get that right?

My favorite local coffee joint, The Hungry Bunny in Cottage Grove, did a much better job this morning:  "Hey, are you a veteran?"  "Yes, I am."  "Coffee's free for you today.  Thank you."  No, thank you young lady, for getting it right and for the good hot coffee.  Click on the cartoon:

Bill Mauldin and Charles Schultz got it right, too.  That's Mauldin's Willie and Joe above.  Willie is looking at Snoopy and says to Joe "I think the new recruits are getting smaller all the time."  Snoopy is looking back and saying ""Willie and Joe.. my heroes.  Happy Veterans Day, men."  Schultz was a WW II machine gunner sergeant who earned the Combat Infantryman's Badge.  Mauldin was a Stars and Stripes reporter/artist who earned the Purple Heart at Anzio Beach.  Both are gone now, but will always be national treasures.  Schultz drew a special Veterans Day strip every year and sent the original to Mauldin, who never quite understood why.  There are things veterans never forget.  I hope Schultz and Snoopy are hoisting root beers and telling war stories at Mauldin's home in heaven today.  They made the world a better place and, after all, isn't that what we're thanking our veterans for today?

* * * * *

For American veterans everywhere:

The master said, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!"

Happy Veterans Day
Let's celebrate together
Thank You