Saturday, November 11, 2006


It seems inconceivable to me that with soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan every day that Veterans Day - for most people - is still just an excuse to have a day off from school and, in rare instances, from work. The lessons of past wars seems to be lost on people today.

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most considering that nobody in my circle of friends has ever served in the military and very few of their parents did either.
Much like our illustrious Vice President, they had other priorities.

Young men and women are struggling to recover from the most horrific of injuries incurred in what will probably prove to be this generation's Vietnam and all around me today and yesterday were signs touting "Veteran's Day Sales" and people who were mindlessly taking advantage of some early November warm weather and a day off. Everywhere I went the atmosphere was more holiday than memorial.

I stopped by an American Legion Post this afternoon - a final stop for a funeral for a friend's mother whose husband had been a member. Other than family and friends, there were few members in sight and I wondered what they must think of the situation we find ourselves in.

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most.

But I remember what it's like to miss holidays and birthdays and my daughter's first steps while far away. I remember what it's like to mourn the loss of brothers-in-arms when something goes awry in peace or war. I remember what it's like to ring the doorbell of a fellow soldier's wife so that I could tell her that her husband wouldn't be coming home any more.

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most.

But this year there is some hope as well. Hope that wasn't there last year when it seemed that "stay the course" would be the epitaph of our military and perhaps of our country. It remains as true today as it was on Monday before the elections that there is no good or easy way out of the quagmire we've created for ourselves in Iraq.

But it is true now that at least the adults have started taking control of things in Washington. Perhaps next November, while there will certainly be more Veterans that there was today and more dead and wounded as well, perhaps there will not be that dread that more will be joining the ghosts of the past that were all around us today.

But maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most.

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