November 11, 2015

Thirty Days of Thanks - Military Veterans

On this day where many of us don't have work, I encourage you to hug as many veterans as you can find.  No?!  OK, just thank them!  Depending on the age/generation of the veteran, you could get reactions from a simple (possibly embarrassed) "thanks", to a deep seated pride that their contribution is being acknowledged after so many years of feeling like they were painted as Vietnam era "bad guys", to some really long and interesting WWII stories volunteered.  

If you get one of those WWII stories, stop and really listen.  So many of those men and women are coming to the last years of their lives and have so much to share with those who take the time to sit with them and really pay attention.  Some of the best stories I got as a child were those of my mom's dad.  I learned all about his time during WWII, learned some military cadences (at the time I just thought they were fun songs) and got to giggle as he joked that he "accidentally" got on the wrong ship and went to war.  

Have you read this poem before?  It's the starting point of why poppies are so closely associated with American, British and Canadian war veterans. Poppies only grow in the absence of other flowers and in fields that have been churned.  Dr. John McCrae noticed them growing between the rows of crosses of soldiers graves during WWI.

During my vacation in England, I had the honor of riding on a train called the "poppy line".  It runs through fields and fields of poppies and the train has been operating since 1887 (largely ceremonially these days).  While it was past-peak, the trip and the fields were beautiful.

I know you all don't need the reminder... the words "thank you" aren't reserved for just Veteran's Day.  Say them freely and often!  Veterans (and active duty) and never be appreciated enough!



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