Every year, near the end of October, the communication arts classes always assign the students an essay for Veterans Day. These essays are then submitted for the opportunity of the grand prize: reading it aloud at the Veterans Day assembly. However, this year, no matter how hard I tried, I could not for the life of me figure out something to write that was not a brain-dead cliche. I wanted to make something memorable, something new and fresh. Then, like a beacon from Heaven, I suddenly got the idea to write a poem instead! It seemed like a good idea until everyone else saw that metaphorical beacon as well. My originality pulled a Houdini and disappeared.
Back to the drawing board for my third official attempt at an essay idea, and the only lead I had was but a simple question: How do you describe a veteran?
Well, the obvious answers include adjectives such as brave, honorable, strong and heroic. But what are we missing? What about the homesickness that those veterans felt when they were overseas in some strange country fighting a war that they did not understand? What about the terror that might have gripped those that were on the frontline, or the incredible stress, or any of the other things that these veterans felt while they were over there?
And, how could we, as Americans, repay them for what they had done for us?
That's when it hit me. Veterans Day is more than a simple holiday. Veterans Day is an opportunity to return that favor that they gave to us. We honor our veterans for everything that they did for us: from directly defending our great US of A from those who would like nothing more than to see America fall, to healing those injured in combat. Those great men and women that served our country deserve this honor at the very least. Those are the men and women who went worlds away to ensure that we at home could keep our homes. For the land of the free, they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. For the home of the brave, they challenged dictators, anarchists and terrorists alike. When the USA looked as though she were about to topple over it was on the veterans' shoulders that Lady Liberty was supported.
And that is why we celebrate Veterans Day