The Holiday Season
The last day of October is Halloween. It’s for kids… I forgot the reason. That’s 10-31
11 November is Veterans Day to honor American men and women who wore the uniform of our country. That’s 11-11
The fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving, which is dedicated to turkey dinners and the Detroit Lions football team. That’s 11-something
25 December is Christmas. Which back when the European culture was very religious, it was a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Now we decorate trees inside our houses and exchange gifts. That’s 12-25
31 December is New Year’s Eve. It’s for adults. Used to be a time to clear up debt. Now it’s partying, pretty much. Big night in NYC and Las Vegas. Auld Lang Syne, champagne and all that. 12-31
Official US Holidays... for everyone to enjoy, with appropriate dress and traditional things to do…
Except Veterans Day. It’s not for everyone. There is no appropriate dress. There are not expected things to be done.
Here’s some other thoughts on this lesser known get-out-of-school-free day early on in the holiday season…
It’s for non-veterans to acknowledge the men and women who raised their right hand once and pledged to protect America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is the public’s way of saying thanks for doing that for me.
What do we do?
Hell, think about it.
We got a day! Just like Jesus.
In my generation joining the Armed Forces usually didn’t start out as a good career move… hell I joined in ’64 because I dropped out of college and couldn’t have dragged ass home because that’s where Daddy lived and he seriously didn’t like that kind of thing. And others? Some chose the military because a Judge had said, “either you go into the Army or to jail. One or the other. It’s up to you.” Others didn’t have any idea what to do with their lives and signed up because their buddy did.
Don’t remember many Eagle Scouts in boot training.
But we learned the manual of arms there and the 11 general orders and how to salute and do reveille. We have friends from our service days like no other friends, as rag-tagged and skin head as we might have looked. We were almost never alone. Slept together, showered together, stood for mail call with the same breathless expectation. Went places and did things dressed alike in our GI uniforms. We were young and laughed and raised hell and marched in the rain and worked hard.
Sometime our service put us in harm’s way. Sometimes some of us held friends as they died from catastrophic wounds suffered in combat. Some of these were our buddies who meant more to us than any other people we had ever known.
Sometimes our uniformed service was more mundane. But above all else we were soldiers. That’s who we understood ourselves to be.
We were all subject to do what our country asked of us. And pretty much we always did it. That’s what soldiers do.
So what do we do now, 11-11?
Well for one thing, we oughta spread the word that 11-11-15 is our day… and then we oughta do something our own selves to commemorate the occasion. It's not been commercialized yet. Sort of flies under the radar of Wal-Mart.
Make it your own during the Holiday Season.
Buy a car, or a truck, go to IHOP, sleep in, drink a six pack of beer out on the back porch, set up the bar down at your local watering hole. Call your ol’ Army buddies. Wear ugly, ugly old clothes.. salute people you pass as you walk the dogs. Wear a red sock in your shirt pocket. Send some donuts to the local police department, or some mints to the emergency room at the hospital… If you’re in the supermarket, pay for the person in line behind you, or in front of you. Give the cashier a rose.
Wear the brass of your branch of service or your old rank on your civilian shirt.
Go to the VA hospital. Salute a Vet there.
Don’t have to go crazy… or do something life changing… or badly illegal. But do something special. You a vet. It's sort of birthday time for ex-Armed Forces. Celebration.
We who stood for, and believe in, the concept of Duty, Honor, Country… they’ve given us a day. Not the protesters or generals with medals up the gazoo or the media or movie stars… us lowly, dirty, stupid grunts.
We got a day to call our own. Because we did what we came to understand was our duty… usually from woebegone, inauspicious beginnings at the recruitment office.
Celebrate. Do something just because you served…
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy R.
“It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.” CMP
For some of us special folks, it's our day.
Spread the word to other ol’ soldiers. Raise awareness of the significance and especially the honor of the occasion.
It’s our day special day during this Holiday Season… with assorted Goblins, Vets, Turkeys, Gifts and Drunks.
If you’re a Vet do one tradition-worthy thing for yourself this day. If you're not a vet, find one to honor.