Happy Veteran’s Day everyone.
Today is a day that means a lot to so many Americans. Not only the vets themselves, but their families, friends, and support systems around them. Certain holidays’ actual values often get lost in translation, so I wanted to express what to keep in mind on this one specifically.
As some of you may know I myself am an active duty veteran of the United States Air Force, so this holiday holds value to me. I know the ins and outs of what is important to people on this day and made a few key points of what should be in the forefront of our minds.
All veterans process this day differently. Most welcome thanks, but some prefer to treat today like any other day. Some love to talk about their experiences while others don’t. Some of these vets are combat veterans. Men and women who have seen battle. Today is either a beam of pride, or a flashback of sadness. Please be mindful of that. The existence of combat veterans though does not make non combat vets illegitimate. Every man and woman who signed their name on the dotted line regardless of what field they were going into, all took the same risk. Having no knowledge of where they would be sent or what they would be called upon to do. Faced their fears, to potentially even stare death in the eye with absolutely zero certainty of their future. It’s not what each individual did personally while they were in the service, it’s about the total lack of self preservation and complete willingness to do whatever their country may have asked of them.
Vets should thank other vets. Not because they hope for a thank you or a favor in return, but because you have earned the respect of each other by being brothers and sisters in arms.
People who haven’t served, if you feel the desire to thank someone, do it. Whether they accept it or not, the gesture of appreciation goes a long way no matter what.
A common misconception is that veterans like to blow up Veteran’s Day for clout or attention. Although that holds true for some of them, most are just proud of what they accomplished. Being in the military was the most challenging and humbling 4.5 years of my life, but I am so glad that it helped shape me into who I am today. It’s something a majority of American’s can’t say they did. Veteran’s are a humbly honored minority and rightfully so. Fellow vets, be proud not just today but every day.
For all others, if you have a vet in your life that you love and appreciate, please let them know. Now more than ever. Mental health is a global pandemic, but especially for military service members past and present. Studies show that between 16-22 veterans commit suicide every single day. It’s also reported that veterans are 1.5 times more likely to kill themselves than any other career field.
I have known vets who have done just that and it is crippling to those also suffering and the support systems around those people to see that happen. A lot of vets have this complex where they feel they shouldn’t reach out to anyone, and typically won’t. So please reach out to those who may be struggling in silence.
If it is too much for you emotionally, then don’t hesitate to utilize the Veteran’s Crisis Line which is 1-800-273-8255. These people need to know there is more to their life than just their service, and that there IS support all around them.
The respect is earned, but appreciated. Whether you agree with the military or the government, these men and women have earned a day to be recognized. It hits everyone differently, but universally it should be at least acknowledged. Our vets looked out for us, now let’s look out for them.
God bless America.