Since tomorrow is Veterans' Day, I started thinking about veterans that I know. The first one that comes to mind is my dad. I am not a member of the military myself, but many I know and many family members are. I was trying to pinpoint one thing about them, being veterans, that I know: you would not know they were veterans unless you specifically asked them.
That made me start thinking, is this true for most veterans? When I came to this conclusion, I had my family members in mind. I extended the search in my mind to include friends of mine who have served in the armed forces, or are still serving. I believe the same to be true of them as well.
What do I mean when I say, "You wouldn't know who the best veterans are?" Well, to be blunt, they don't wear their service on their sleeve. Sure, you might be able to tell by their high-and-tight haircut, or their aviator sunglasses. But other than that, they are not in-your-face about it.
You could have an entire conversation with them, and they might not even bring it up. Especially the ones who have seen combat, they are very retisent to talk about the trappings of war.
While I do think we over extend ourselves as a nation militarily, I don't fool myself into thinking that these men and women are anything but brave. I am afforded the luxury of having the opinion that we have too adventurous of a foreign policy precisely because of those who fight to uphold our freedoms. I don't take those freedoms lightly. none of us should. Even when you're acting like an idiot, someone has sacrificed a ton just so you are allowed to be that way.
My dad and I don't always get along, but that doesn't stop me from having the utmost respect for him. I know he has had to make some unbelievable sacrifices for his family over the years, and his time in the Vietnam War, well, I won't even speak about that. He can be a man of few words, but even fewer words could I say about him that would actually show how much I respect him.
As you go about your day, ask people if they have served or are serving. Actually try to find out. Chances are, you will not know who they are just from looking at them. Many of these people are weekend warriors, and we work and socialize with them, but don't pay them the respect they deserve for protecting our freedom. Take a moment to pay them your respect.