When one first starts blogging one always pens a brief note regarding Veteran’s Day.  After doing it several years in a row, one gets to feel that one is actually demeaning a special day, for over time, one loses the ability to come up with something new to say.  It’s all been said before… by you.

If you stopped by any Veteran’s Day Memorial Celebration, you probably felt the same as I.  The heads of office all get up to spout off some words their publicist dashed off in the middle of last night, the functionary guild officers roam the crowd and do their politicking, the high school band looks like it got up too early on it’s school day off.

It seems shallow; perfunctory.

That is not what I saw.

I saw 200+ people who got out of bed and made it a point to attend. Why? I saw some in current uniform.  Some in their American Legion of VFW uniforms.  I some some in jeans, . But for some reason, some deep underlying force motivated them to get up, get showered and dressed, get into their cold cars and drive to and then park, and even then, walk half a mile in the cold to sit under at tent for two hours of boring speeches all the while exposed to elements.

I saw the US Flag with the MIA flag underneath it, and the 5 service flags all waving in the breeze, while the functionaries droned on and on, each trying to make it sound like they were America’s solders’ best friends. It waved magnificently.

When one writes a blog and centers it on passion, a lot of phrases oneself used in the past, when uttered again ring hollow from overuse.. Perhaps they still inspire those hearing it for the first time.

Every year brings something different .  A new perspective.  This year was no different….

Perhaps because it was the 95th anniversary of that day when the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, caused the guns to go silent.

A moment of silence was offered.  And since I wasn’t paying attention to all the blah-blah-blah leading up to it, the silence hit me stronger than before.  There was all this background noise, and suddenly it was quiet…

Don’t know if any of you have been in war, but war is full of noise.  The closest to that situation then, is the 53rd Parallel today.  Shots are randomly being fired, and no one really pays attention to who is firing them.  Sometimes one side even gets orders to use up as much ammunition as possible, since peace will soon be coming upon them. Yes, war is ruled by the dumb.  Those things happen.

But what it must have been like to have heard the distant non stop booms of artillery for the past 8 months, and suddenly then, it stops.

Instinctively you wait for the next one…. and it never comes… Slowly it dawns on you that it is over.  You made it.  You didn’t die.  You might make it home after all….

It is hard to imagine that feeling unless one has lived it.  One’s duty done.  One’s memory bank full.  One’s emotions unexplainable except through eye contact with fellow soldiers.  You get to go home, and many of your friends… won’t.

There are a lot of things you wish you could take back. Actions against the enemy you wish you hadn’t taken.  You don’t feel like the hero you will be hailed as when you get back..  What you did was dirty business. But you are going to praised for it back home.  You tell yourself, it is just how it is, and you put up a brave face….

You are scarred.  When you get back, you see other people who didn’t go, and they seem so immature.  They act like they are in elementary school.  Gradually it seems like everyone is like that.  A whole society is completely engrossed in a television series the played the night before… Don’t they know that is just made up?  Don’t they realize it is just  pretend?

Your best friends, who you longed to get back to normal with while you were under fire, now think you are weird.  When you walk into a room, you can tell, they weren’t praising you, and you simply don’t know why.. Weren’t you the one… WHO DID ANSWER THE CALL?

Only others, those coming back with you, seem to accept you.

It is no one’s fault really.  Just an educational divide that has to be experienced to be believed.  And war is an experience that we don’t want happening very often.

That is why black, Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, male, female, those petty differences don’t matter any more.  By the unique experience of serving the United States of America, these comrades are family.

And so…. they get up early on Veteran’s Day.  Dust off the parade uniforms, and squeeze themselves back into those now tight fitting clothes.  Some are pulled by memories.  Some are pulled by psychology.  Some are just pulled.

They are America’s true heroes… As foes become friends, and friends become foes across the spread of years, ideologies and philosophies fall by the wayside.  Words like Democracy and Freedom and Liberty ring hollow, especially when as an invader you brought none of that. You brought martial law.

But the bond exists between all those who’ve faced someone trying to kill them.  Someone who doesn’t know them. Someone who in another time or place would be hilarious to get stinking drunk with. Someone who may miss their loved one.  Someone who may have more kids.  Someone who loves their mother, maybe even more than you.

But we ask these men, and often tell them… to disregard humanity, that there is a greater purpose, one justifying taking a life just like yours….  A greater cause that can only be fulfilled by having more soldiers left standing then the other side is capable of replacing on their side…

These men, these women, fought war.  War, the senseless, cruel, wasted reality that makes no sense once it is over.   They fought war. War which is stupid.  War which is costly. War which kills.

There is only one reason war exists… One side wants it…. and as a defensive nation, through most of our history, we were not that side.  We fought to end wars.  We fought to stop it…

These veterans for their small part they played, all tried to do what they could in their own small way, to end war…

And for that… we must honor them always…..

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