Well, the simplest answer would be a person who was a member of a military armed forces.
We celebrate Memorial Day for the ones who gave their lives during their time of service, but Veteran’s Day is for those of us on this side of the grass…the ones who are still alive or those who finished their military service and lived. I know, sounds a bit simplistic but that’s it, or is that it?
Do you ever wonder why someone would join the military? Yes, we’re all not war mongers as a few would have you believe. And a majority do not join the military to avoid jail, as some might think. Well, some people enlist in the military for employment and benefits but again, I believe those numbers are fewer that we have been told.
This year for Veteran’s Day, do yourself a favor and talk to some veterans–grand parents, parents, relatives, they guy or gal down the street–I’m sure you can find one or two if you just look around the corner. If you’re really curious, ask them why they joined; ask them what it meant for them to serve. Some won’t want to talk about their time in service and at times, many of us don’t. Just let them know that you’re not there to have them relive their experiences but you’d really like to know what is in the heart of a warrior–a soldier or sailor–someone who put most of their life (or a period of time) on hold so that the remainder of their country men and women, children of all ages, natural born and immigrants alike could go on with their daily lives free of the evils in the world that exists to take those freedoms away from each of them.
Ask them what drove them, in the beginning, to stand up for those beliefs, and why did/do they think it is so important for our country. A dinner is nice and so many appreciate this time of thanks. Keep in mind, most veterans would probably just like to have someone spend some time talking and sharing of yourself for a little while. No, it’s not always easy but it isn’t hard, either.
Don’t be surprised if they tell you something along the lines of, “It was the right thing to do at the time.”
For me, I come from a family with a history of service in the armed forces. My dad, me and my brother all served in the U.S. Navy; uncles served in the Army and Air Force; cousins in the Army, Navy and Marines, as well as, bothers-in-law. And yes, it was the right thing to do for 23 years of my life.
In my world, it is strange to me when I meet someone who was not in the military but I meet many of these people almost daily. Most are very appreciative of my service and tell me so…while a thankful few are not so nice but that’s their right to feel that way–I’ve been told that “You Can’t Legislate Attitudes.”
I personally say thank you to all of you who served and returned. May the Lord grant you peace in your hearts and minds; and that He helps you know that what you did made a difference.