Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

If you've ever visitied my website Dirigonzo Speaks you know I "support our troops" which of course includes veterans. So I guess you won't be too surprised when I say that I am disappointed that Veterans Day has become what I term "half a holiday". It's an official federal holiday so most government offices are closed and of course there's no mail delivery, but other than that it's pretty much "business as usual" for the American public. Public schools are closed, I think, but frankly I'd rather they stayed open and held an assembly to mark the occasion - somehow I think that would be more meaningful for kids than having the day off without understanding why. Maybe some banks are closed, too, but with ATMs and on-line banking, who cares? For most businesses Veterans Day is a good reason to have a sale; celebrate by shopping - what could be more patriotic?!

I checked the local papers this morning and there are a few observances scheduled in the area, mostly sponsored by veterans' groups like the American Legion and VFW and I guess that's fitting, but wouldn't it be nice if there were more widely observed activities promoted by non-veterans? I was surprised to see that the Freeport Flag Ladies haven't scheduled anything to mark the day - I just checked their website to make sure and nope, nothing going on today. I don't mean to be critical of the FFL - they do way more than most to support troops and veterans - but if even they don't do something to say "thank you for your service" who will? Maybe you?

Memorial Day is a time to commemorate those who gave their lives in defense of our nation and our way of life. Veterans Day is an opportunity to say "Thank you - we appreciate your service and sacrifice on our behalf" to ALL vets and future vets. Everybody who served or is still serving gave some part of their life to secure freedom for all of us. Their families sacrificed too, by having a loved one away or by supporting them in countless ways, and we should appreciate their contributions also.

I'm not asking for individual recognition here - certainly not for myself and not for any other particular veteran. But I do think that *veterans* as a group deserve more appreciation than is afforded by today's "half a holiday". And I'm not asking for parades and ceremonies with military bands and public speeches by local dignitaries, although those are always fun; I'm asking YOU to take a minute to remember why we have Veterans Day and maybe ask yourself, "how can I, in some small way, show my appreciation to the men and women who have served in the armed forces?" And then do it. Maybe you'll put your flag out (it's not too late as I write), or maybe you'll write a letter to your elected representatives to ask them to support veterans' benefits when they come up for a vote. Or maybe you'll just thank a veteran for his or her service - time is growing short to do this for WW II vets and I know they would love to hear it from you.

If you are just completely stuck for a way to "support our troops" go to my website and you'll find links to dozens of organizations that would love to hear from you and have your support. Tell them Dirigonzo sent you.

And now I think I'll go to Applebee's and get my free dinner.

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