Today is Veterans Day. And for those of you who have served or are currently serving, a very heartfelt thanks goes out.
Growing up, Veterans Day never felt like much of a holiday. I didn’t know any veterans personally (although my grandfather was in the Army in WWII, he never left the country), the country overall didn’t seem sure on how to handle Vietnam Veterans in general (Click here to see President Obama’s recollection of the same), and at some point we even stopped getting the day off from school.
Now, however, I feel very differently about Veteran’s Day. First and foremost, I think we all know someone who’s served, particularly given the US’s military involvement around the world over the past 20 years, many of whom are our neighbors, workout partners, co-workers and friends. And, we probably also aren’t more than one degree removed from someone who didn’t make it back either.
One of my fraternity brothers enlisted shortly after 9/11. He’s a doctor in Boston, and in addition to being a team physician for the Red Sox and Patriots, saw the potential need for an orthopedic specialist in the field. So he spent the better part of 6 months in Afghanistan helping heal soldiers and learning how to poop while balancing a rifle on his lap. I thought of him often while he was there, and I know his family is glad to have him back.
I have another friend whose cousin was killed by friendly fire, just weeks before his tour was to have ended. He was inspired as an 8-year old on 9/11, and enlisted the day he turned 18. He proudly served with honor, and expected to return back into the field after a short time back home. Unfortunately, he won’t get that chance. My friend is now active in a variety of military cause-related efforts, even participating in the Marine Core Marathon to help raise money.
This past weekend, my wife and daughter participated in a Wounded Warrior workout at a Crossfit gym in Glen Burnie. I’m sure they were motivated by the efforts of the veterans in attendance, and I know how deeply it impacted them both. They went out of their way to help support people whom they didn’t even know, so impressed were they of the sacrifices each had made.
So this Veterans Day regardless of your personal politics, I encourage each of you to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families to protect the interests of the United States across the globe. Take a minute to make a call, send an email, shake a hand and say thanks to the members of the military that you know.