Today, November 11th, is a day to honor all Veterans that served our country during a time of peace or a time of war. A day to honor those who served our nation by putting others before themselves, whether they fought in battle, stood on the line protecting our shores, or served behind the scenes. So, why do so many of our Veterans sit in the shadows?
When attending patriotic events, I often spot at least one Veteran, sitting in the back of the crowd, looking for no recognition at all. Even when they are called to stand, so that we, the public, can recognize them for their sacrifice, they remain seated. Desperately trying to shift the focus to others, or to those who didn’t come home, rather than accepting the recognition we so graciously present. You know the ones, you have seen them, too; some bear a faded tattoo, a sort of family crest, or tattered patches, haphazardly sewn on a cap or sleeve.
What about others that choose to remain unmarked, unrecognized, mostly made up of the younger generation of Veterans? The ones we can’t pick out of a crowd. The ones who attend their children’s sporting events and school plays right alongside us. The ones we work with every day without a single indication or mention of their time served. For some reason, they don’t see themselves as we see them. They are our heroes. They are the ones who volunteered to give so much for so many; yet they, too, sit and do not stand.
I believe that one of the answers to my question, “Why do so many of our Veterans sit in the shadows?” is that the younger generation of Veterans hold our “veteran” Veterans at a higher level of regard than they do themselves, and choose to defer recognition to them. In my opinion, this deserves an even greater sense of gratitude on our parts. It is just one more reason to give our nation’s Vets the true honor and respect they deserve.
So to our Veterans, especially our hidden Veterans who choose anonymity, we say:
Thank YOU for your service!