Monday, November 10, 2008

Veteran’s Day Thoughts

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

In my mind, two of our most important holidays of the year fall in November—Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. It is symptomatic of our current culture that these two observations, both of which ask us to be grateful for what we have and to express our thanks to those who made it possible, are mostly ignored. Part of the crush has come from Halloween, an occasion that once belonged to children, but has lately been hijacked by adults eager to abandon responsibility in favor of frivolity and make-believe (along with the right to appear on others doorsteps and demand favors). On the other side, it’s Christmas—a holiday that has, for too many, increasingly devolved into not much more than a shopping spree that creates year-long debt accompanied by anxiety and family tensions. Then, of course, there’s New Year’s with thoughtful celebrations revolving around far too much food and drink, as well as uplifting experiences such as football, keg parties, and hangovers.

I certainly am exposing the old curmudgeon side of my nature here, but these things bother me. Our lives are barren without gratitude, and it saddens me to see this human virtue losing ground to the “gimme” attitude—the notion that because I want it, I am entitled to get it, and someone had better give it to me, now— that is celebrated non-stop in popular culture.

Okay, enough moaning. (I really am not some dour Puritan throwback who deplores fun and celebrating life. Veteran’s Day just seems to do this to me.) I do want to say a big “Thank You!” to all the men and women who have served our country. We owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. Please accept my heartfelt appreciation. When I say my prayers tonight, I will ask to be more deserving of your sacrifices.

In case you are in the mood for a post that honors our veterans, but has a more for uplifting tone—and who wouldn’t be, check Beau Harbin’s post for today.


  1. Personally, I wish that there were no need for such a day. Not only are we into the I-want-it-now-because attitude, but we seem, in a lot of ways to be pointed in the wrong direction.

    Having a day to honor veterans of the military, means we have a military. Further, it means that we choose fighting, no killing, as a way to settle our differences. When I say 'we', I mean the entire world, not just the US. No U.S. bashing here, or ever.

    At one point in my life, I used to think that war was somehow necessary, a natural way of things, until I started to look at Nature and see that there is no such thing anywhere except in the 'self-aware', the ego-driven, 'I'. Now, I think that I couldn't have been more wrong.

    Quite frankly, settling 'differences' is based on fear. Why should I care that you are different in any way? Because you might try to change me! Why would you try to change me? Because you fear my way and that I might try to change you. Round and round we go. Escalating the violence. Never quite figuring it out. One cannot create a peace through the use of violence. Ever. One can only create fear, animosity, and retribution.

    Unfortunately, since not everyone has compassion for everyone else, thus making laws, wars, weapons, etc. obsolete, we continue to point and move in the wrong direction. Sigh.

    Nonetheless, my heart is with the troops of all wars, on all sides. They never start the conflict, it is their government, the higher ups who still believe that war is the way. War only brings more war ... I think that I already said that. :-)

    The Tao says, the feminine will always overcome the masculine. It is the strong of the two. Always. Looking to Nature, the tree that bends in the storm is the one that survives, not the tough, tall, strong tree. They break.

    A good post, Anita. It made me think. Thank you!

  2. this is a day when I remember my grandfather who served in WWII and also remember marching on Armistice Day in the UK, carrying the Union Jack and leading a troop of scouts to the war memorial to remember. I was probably a young teenager, freezing in shorts (it was November, in Scotland after all) and hoping not to drop the heavy flag and be considered disrespectful.

  3. Paul - And, thinking is very good!
    Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Gordon - Thanks for the lovely story—full of wonderful imagery.

  5. Great post and a beautiful image (one of my favorites yet). Thanks for sharing your feelings on this and for the link. Best wishes.

  6. Beau - When I saw your post this morning, I knew that I had to link to it. When I got started, I decided to share some of my thoughts as well.

    I'm glad you like the photo—as I have confessed, I am am sucker for sunsets.

  7. A fantastic post, a beautiful photo. I'm grateful.
    Your security thing on the comment page won't allow me to comment under my specific name and url. Don't like coming in as "Anonymous" so I'll post it here for you:

  8. Look Closer - Thank you for visiting and for joining the conversation.


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