Last night in the pub I was having a beer or two with a couple of my best men. As one can expect after one too many, someone brings up a topic that is a bit too serious and others will either try to change the conversation, ignore it or join in. Usually I'm guilty of ignoring or changing the topic, but this time I jumped in and listened, and despite him being a bit more than "tipsy" he had some very valid points I wanted to share:
The difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day is the realization that we honor those who either did or didn't make it back. For those of you who need it broken down completely here ya go:
*Made it back
*Witnessed unfathomable things we can't imagine to keep us safe.
*Many still being deployed/utilized in keeping our country safe, despite having lost friends/relatives in battle, sometimes side by side.
*Many live with daily issues like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and unfortunately have limited options through the VA to address these issues.
*These brave men and women sadly did not make it back while defending our freedoms for our great country. THUS why we call it "Memorial Day"- it is a day we take to remember them and the remarkable sacrifice they gave for us. They don't get to say a final goodbye to their families, they don't get to see their children grow up or loved ones live on, (except if you believe in the "great beyond" of course).
Do not be fooled either. They don't get paid a lot of money and this is NOT a glamorous life they lead. I was once a military wife, so I know how little they actually make.
1. If you see a veteran, don't just go up and be all cheery like an effing cheerleader and act like you're doing a huge amazing act by saying "Thanks for your service!" and walking away. What they want is someone who actually CARES enough to show REAL emotion about what they went through. Look them in the eyes and say something like "I really appreciate your service" or a simple "Thank you for your service" will do.
2. If you're posting on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) saying "Happy Veterans Day!!" is treating it like it's birthday party. IT ISN'T. Remember, these are people who gave a LOT more than you can actually imagine- so treat it as such. It's a respect issue. If you can't find something decent to say about the day itself like "Thank you to all Veterans!" then just hush.
3. Retailers saying they're having a "Veterans Day sale" REALLY piss me off. You're selling things because people are veterans and gave their all for their country, so now they get 10% off a mattress??? REALLY? What is wrong with you!? If anything, advertising like that ensures that I will never (let me repeat: NEVER) shop at that establishment out of sheer principle. Taking advantage of a holiday like this is smart I get that- you want to make money, BUT they're veterans who were in WAR (most likely anyhow- we're just saying hypothetically to make a point here) and you want to make money off them and only give them a measly 10% off?? How about at LEAST 40%?? Bloodthirsty pricks. Shame on them.
ANYHOW, be respectful of those who have fought for you to have so much. You live in a country that you can wear anything you want and say anything you want in public (for the most part), you can vote, you can drink, you can get an education, you can date inter-racially (in some countries that is a sin and you are killed for it), if you are raped you can bring your attacker(s) to justice (in other countries the rape victim is often burned by acid, stoned and shunned by the family because they believe the victim did it on purpose and now the family is disgraced) etc. WE HAVE IT EASY HERE IN AMERICA. BE THANKFUL.