Yesterday, as I was grumbling over transit service reductions and cancellations for today, and trying to plan a route to and from work that 1) didn’t involve taking the car and 2) took less than the 3+ hours round trip I was able to come up with, I started lamenting the fact that I was actually going in to work today. OK, OK…so I did the last two years as well (and probably with the same grumbling about transit service too).
Then it hit me, if I had today off, what would I do? Like so many other holidays, it would probably be spent like another weekend day. Would I take the time to remember those who either by choice, force or lottery gave either their lives or a portion of them in service of their country? The truth of my answer struck with not a little shame: probably not.
I think the last time I really did do something was back in ’97 or ’98 when I called my Dad and thanked him for his service. Looking back, I’m not sure that was the best thing to have done. Dad was not in the military by choice, he was drafted. Perhaps the better thing to tell him was thank you for learning how you feel about war, and showing me. So, Dad. If anything good comes out of your time in Vietnam, this is it. You’ve shared it with me, and through your Testament, you’ve shared it with your grandsons. I hope it is a lesson well learned and remembered.
I have high school friends, and other acquaintances who went into the military by choice. To this day, I don’t understand the decision and what drove them. But they followed what they felt driven to do. Thankfully, they returned safely from their deployments (and a few are still out serving overseas, hopefully safe today). For whatever reasons they are or were in the military, I do honor their decision, and wish sincerely that they have come away with positive life-changing experiences.
So today, the day originally to remember the armistice that ended “the War to end all Wars”, I remember those who have served. Those who made a conscious choice. Those who were drafted and saw no alternative. Those who, perhaps, in other countries were forced into service.
Peace to all. May we, as a global community and race, finally learn to solve our differences and conflicts some other way than by force of arms.