It’s fitting how Veterans Day falls right after Election Day, isn’t it? As Americans, we go to the polls and exercise our right to vote for a candidate. There’s a lot of arguing and passion and candidate bashing and eye rolling and complaining and weird excitement. We wear our “I voted” stickers and obsessively watch the crazy media coverage and pontificate as if we know everything about everything.
And then a few days later, November 11th rolls around. Thank goodness.
Just to clarify, Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served in our military forces. Those who wore the uniform and sacrificed so we could live freely in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
Today, my boys and I had the honor of attending a local Veterans Day celebration. My mom is the queen of volunteer work, and she organizes this party every year. We walked into a room full of veterans and their families, all there to celebrate one another and the United States of America. They wore their uniforms, their hats, their medals. Some brought pictures of themselves from their days of service. We all sang patriotic songs and waved our little flags and applauded wildly as the song of each military branch was played. They stood and saluted, some waved their fists in the air. It was awesome.
And then much to our embarrassment, we were introduced as a military family and brought to the front of the room. We waved and scurried back to our seats. And then about a dozen of these precious men sought us out.
Some walked with canes, some waved us over from their seats, some just hugged us as we passed and squeezed on my two boys. I heard stories of their military days, their assignments, their families, just anything and everything. But most of all, they thanked us for our service as a military family. These men who fought in wars thanked US.
I took a picture of my older son, John, with Grady Frazier, a 97-year-old gentleman who fought at Pearl Harbor at the age of 19. John told him that he was born on December 7th….just 64 years later. We also took pictures with Carl Angelone, a 90-year-old gentleman who proudly wore his Army uniform from 60 years ago. (And then worked the room like a total pro…just a glimpse of what my husband will be like at that age.)
Their smiles and words were so precious.
“Thank you for your service.”
“Tell your husband how much we appreciate him.”
“We are so grateful for your family.”
“God bless you all.”
“Be safe and come see us again next year.”
You know what nobody talked about? The election that happened just three days ago. No one even mentioned the names of the candidates. Not once. We all just talked about America, about the proud and brave service of so many. We waved our flags. We said the Pledge of Allegiance. I might have cried.
There was no better thing for us to witness and feel after the ugliness of this week.
If you are in need of some healing, go hang out with some Veterans. Ask them about their service. Listen to stories of why America is and was and will continue to be THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, no matter who won the election. We are the land of the free because of the brave. Today is about all the people who were brave way before this election took place. I think we can all agree on that.