Today was Veterans Day. We honor the brave men and women who have served our country in all wars and all conflicts in our nation’s history. They have selflessly given of themselves to defend our most basic freedoms, ones we take for granted, like voting, religion, living where we want, and following the life we want to lead. We take these for granted, though we shouldn’t. We have these privileges on the backs of brave men and women who believe in the ideals of the United States and who seek to live in a free nation themselves. They provide lofty standards of courage, discipline, and honor that we all can and should follow if we desire to be truly good citizens of the greatest nation on earth.
Whenever there is an event honoring the military, I always stand up and applaud and salute our soldiers. They deserve that and so much more. But I’ve never been completely comfortable with the ways we honor them. I always wonder if they want to be honored instead of truly appreciated. There is a difference between the two. A ceremony honors. A handshake or a personal salute honors. When walking the streets of Boston, I saw one man wearing his medals from his service in the Marine Corps. I stopped, gave him a personal salute, and personally said to him, “Thank you for your service.” He stopped, shook my hand, said thank you, and walked away with a big beaming smile on his face.
That happens every time I see someone in a military uniform and salute. They deserve that and so much more than I could ever do for them. I prefer to show my appreciation that way than to hold a big elaborate ceremony. There’s a more personal feel for it on my end, and I believe in theirs. Not that I think the in game tributes should be done away with at sports events or anything like that. But I think the best way to show appreciation to our veterans is to show it on a personal level. Make sure to do that the next time you see a current soldier or a veteran. I know I will.