With a birthday two days before Veterans Day, I believed as a school-aged child that Veterans Day was simply the Federal Government’s way of saying, “Happy Belated Birthday, Megan!” Belief is maybe an exaggeration, but I did think it was a happy coincidence that my birthday fell so near Veterans Day. After all, school was closed, and I could enjoy a day of freedom outside the confines of my elementary school prison.
I don’t think I really came to appreciate the true meaning of Veterans Day until I was in college. By this time in my life some friends and former classmates had joined the military and were serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Somehow knowing a service-person or veteran personally changes one’s perspective of Veteran’s Day.
One of my favorite things about working for the Memorial is the chance I have to meet veterans and hear their stories. Most of the veterans I talk with insist that they are not heroes – they say that they were just doing their jobs. But these so-called -jobs and patriotic duties fulfilled by these men and women have helped preserve freedom across the globe.
So I would like to encourage you to look at Veterans Day a little differently this year. Go out of your way to thank a veteran. Participate in a local Veterans Day parade or ceremony. Write a letter to a local VFW or American Legion chapter expressing your gratitude… Whatever you decide to do this Veterans Day, I hope you will take some time to remember that we enjoy freedoms each and every day because others have given up much in service to our country.