As we approach another Veterans’ Day, I begin to look back upon my service to this country, and what that idea of service really means. As a veteran, I remember that Veterans’ Day was originally called Armistice Day… the day that we celebrated peace and the end of war. Too often though in recent years, that history has been supplanted by a more prideful expansion of militarism, and to that for some very dubious motives. Regardless of sides of lines, I think we can all agree that none of us want the sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters, of this nation, or any other, to suffer through any more of this generational warfare and conflict, which only continues to destroy lives around the world and here at home. In the memory of Armistice Day, it is time for peace.
Celebrating service again is what we are talking about on this day; service, which can take on many different shapes and forms, but always with the underlying motive that we serve to help lift up others less fortunate than ourselves, to make our society here at home a better, more just place, where we defend a way of life, one which is worth defending, founded on those precious ideas of liberty and justice for all, one of true equity and fairness.
This is not something you have to put a uniform on to do. This idea of service is something that each of us can do in our local community right here, serving by getting involved in the democracy all around us, to make our local community that shining example that we hold up to the world as to how it’s done right. After all, isn’t that the respect we owe to those who put their lives on the line to protect us, to make our society a better place for them to come home to?
The idea of service is not about property values and bottom lines, but of human dignity and lives… that is our legacy as a great nation… how we treat the least among us… regardless if they’re veterans, or not… just being human is qualifying enough for a basic standard of living in the richest country on Earth.
What we need to do to serve our country, our community and those around us, is not difficult, but it does take courage. It takes the courage to trust in our better selves and to change directions when we see that the path we are on leads us to a place we do not want to go.
As a Seabee, having served with NMBC16, with that “Can Do” spirit reflected in our motto, I am reminded that all we have to do is put a little bit of sweat into it and we can create as many solutions to the difficulties that face us as we can imagine… and we can do it as a community, for the community … as a welcoming community, but one that also doesn’t take orders from Wall Street.