Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It’s Not Really Free

Every year I see the countless signs and receive numerous emails about all the discounts and “free” things for veterans. Unfortunately, I have seen the inevitable complaints of entitlement from people across numerous social media streams making delusional statements that they should be getting the “handouts”. What these people fail to realize, year after year, is that despite what the ads might say veterans are not getting anything for free. These people served and sacrificed for us and, if anything, they are still not getting enough from us.

Over the years I have gotten to know veterans of all ages, branches, and length of service. I come from a long line of men who have served in the armed forces and made an attempt to do so myself (no, I am not a veteran). In fact, many of those men whom I consider friends and family were part of the recognition ceremony at my lodge last week… there was a total of over 160 years of service that stood before us that night. All of these men, and all veterans that I have had the privilege to meet during my lifetime, have never asked for any recognition.

In recent years, there seems to be a “veterans day is good enough” mentality with regard to the recognition that is bestowed upon these men and women. Every year, I see fewer and fewer instances of people walking up to a veteran and thanking them for their service. This downward trend is particularly noticeable on this day although it is pervasive throughout the year. People seem to think that they have played the same role in keeping this country safe when that is far from the reality.

Yes, there are discounts today for veterans but one day is never going to be enough. These men and women deserve much more than a coupon on this day, they deserve our gratitude and our respect for doing what we were unwilling and/or unable to do. They are the ones who have ensured that this country continues to exist, they are the ones that have made it possible for us to live our lives without fear. No discount our coupon will ever make up for the sacrifices that they have made ad while our feeble words will not accomplish much more, it at least shows that we have not forgotten what they have done for us.

Thank you for your service!