This is in response to a man who objected to being wished a "Happy Veteran's Day!" because it should not be a festive occasion. Certainly it's a day of remembrance, shouldn't positive emotions about service be included as well? Justin writes:
I am a veteran, and I do appreciate the word "happy." I am happy to have served with so many fine soldiers. I am happy to be counted among those who served. I am happy that people stop to remember, even for a moment or two. I am happy in the knowledge there are those willing to serve, sacrifice, and pass on a tradition of service. I am happy politically diverse people with integrity around the world can agree on a few fundamental issues, and that honoring their nation's veterans is one such issue. Look in my eyes. I am happy to have survived combat. I am happy to have a family. Do I despair at the loss of so many fine people? Yes. Am I sober and saddened when I think of the cost of war? Yes. Are far too many veteran's lost in their fear , anger, and depression? Yes. But when I am with my friends, those who I served with, we are happy in each others' company. So, Happy Veteran's Day to all those who served, sacrificed, and answered the call. Thank a Veteran in your own way, be respectful of the sacrifice, and be happy for the life each veteran has after the war, for far too many have yet to find the joy which can be had in this world.
Then as a note on his Facebook page:
...as you go on about your day, please take the time to say thank you to a veteran. Maybe you know someone personally, and maybe you might see a stranger walking own the street---it doesn't make any difference. Please, just say "thank you" in your own way. As a veteran, I don't mind this day has become an excuse for buying a couch or television on the cheap. Honest. I don't even care if you don't thank me personally because I was not alone in my efforts. I had friends in my platoon in Operation Desert Storm (and other various units) who boosted me up as I tried to boost them. The result was this: We were a synergistic effort, the whole more valuable than the sum of our parts. And that goes for every veteran, regardless of whether he or she served in combat. When you thank one veteran, you are really thanking all veterans in a tradition which goes farther back than recent decades.
My offering today is simple. I am offering my thanks to all the men and women I served with, whether we got along or not. Thank you for being there when it counted, and when it mattered most. Thank you to all who have served and are serving now. Your sacrifice is/was not political, nor are my thanks. Your sacrifice, no matter how small or easy you think it, is not a thing which can be compared using some objective scale. Please know I am grateful for your service, your brotherhood, and in many cases, your friendship. Thank you for sharing with me your lives and your ideas. Knowing you has enlarged me and made me a better teacher, poet, and human. I wish for you peace and resolution in your heart for your service and the lives you have and the portions of life you sacrificed because of your service. For those who sacrificed everything, there is nothing left but to say once again, Thank You.
Pretty with the writing words, ain't he?
His newest book of poetry is now available for pre-order from BlazeVOX. We are fond of saying around our house that you can't make friends with salad and you don't make money from poetry, but at the very least you can scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the book preview!