Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans' Day 2011

It’s 11-11-11. There’s been one of these same number days over the last decade, thanks to the start of a new century, and news reporters have loved it, constantly doing stories on the weddings held and the babies born and how important and lucky and significant the repetitive date is to a particular culture.

Today is important for another reason. As a friend so eloquently stated this week, Memorial Day is to remember the soldiers and sailors that died; Veterans’ Day is to remember those that lived. She said this during a conversation with one of our principals when questioning why the schools do absolutely nothing to acknowledge the day, a question answered with “you realize we do a big ceremony on Memorial Day, right?”

This morning, the Oldest was protesting attending the parade his brother and grandfather were about to march in. Trying to get out the door to work (yes, neither the Hubby or me had today off), my patience with the whining was less than long. As he was complaining, I turned up the volume on the TV to listen to the man on the screen. There, in his living room, sat an 80-something-year-old World War II veteran telling the reporter about how he and his friends fought in northern Italy in the cold and snow, using mules to pull small cannons and supplies up the mountains, and how many of his friends, killed in action, lie with hundreds of others in a cemetery in Florence.

And he wept, remembering the pain of losing his comrades some sixty years later. I turned to the Oldest and said, “That man, when he wasn’t much older than you, spent months in the cold to fight for people’s freedom. I don’t think it’s too much to ask you to throw on a few layers and go outside for an hour-long ceremony. Do you?”  Happy to report he, the Baby, and their father joined my mother to watch the Middle Child carry the flag for the Boy Scouts and my dad marching with the American Legion.

So, how did you spend your Veterans’ Day?

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