On this day, I honor those individuals who risk their lives and welfare, who sacrifice so much time that could be spent with their families and loved ones, and who give of themselves in so many ways that many of us are unaware of, in order to serve and protect the country that they, and I, love. I recognize you and am grateful.
That said, I also want to express that this, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, was first meant to recognize the armistice that ended World War I in 1918. It was a celebration of an end to war and not a glorification of it. As I look at the erosion of the order that has prevented great power war for the past 70 years and the moving of “pieces” on the map in a way that points toward the very real possibility that we could return to such a blood letting, I want to be a voice that reminds people that violence and war are not the best expressions of ourselves.
We are perpetually inundated with messages that tell us otherwise. We are pressured from many sources (right and left) to celebrate militarism and violence in order to demonstrate our pride in and affection for our country.
To me though, the best way for me to honor our brave service members and their families is to work toward the prevention of war. After all, it is they who will be sent and will suffer first when we allow ourselves to be swept up into the vortex again.
So today, I honor our veterans and active service members by focusing on the end of war. I will take a moment at the eleventh hour today, to meditate on this and on how I can do my part to be a peace maker in order to serve my country, humanity, and our military.