Monday, November 11, 2013

Solemn Pride in Heroism

When dedicating "Armistice Day" in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson announced:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."

Armistice Day was amended to Veterans Day (no apostrophe) in 1954.

Noting that Wilson seemed focused on those who died, it seems fitting to focus on those veterans who served and lost in other ways:
Many forget that the first social programs that existed in this Country were directed towards veterans of the Revolutionary and Civil wars.

I hesitated in posting these facts.  The narrative is such that honor and thanks have replaced true appreciation.  If you have not already, I strongly recommend Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk as a 320 page explication of the relationship between those who have served and those who have not.

Ever since TJ brought the organization to my attention about a year and a half ago, I donate to Team Red White and Blue on Memorial and Veterans Day:

Team RWB is transforming the way that America supports its veterans as they transition from service member to civilian. We are creating communities of veterans, their families, and American citizens that enjoy authentic interaction through physical and social activities.

It does not provide a homeless veteran a warm bed or speed up an inexcusably long wait on their disability claim, but it shows appreciation in ways more than "thanks".  More importantly, it provides a platform for that veteran to address whatever challenges they may be facing on their own terms, with other veterans, in a constructive way.

While all of the statistics that I cited above may resonate, the one I find most inexcusable is the suicide rate.  Our heroes are killing themselves.