Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, to me is a time of reflection. Over the years, I have known so many good men and women who quietly served their country in time of war, and time of peace. They came from all religions, from a multitude of ethnic groups. They didn't question why their country made the call, they just knew that this was the price of living free and without fear. Some of them did not have the same freedoms as the majority; but that would change over time.
Most were unassuming young men and women, who's lives were interrupted by the madness of those beyond their immediate control. They were still youngsters, barely out of childhood; yet they were asked to take up arms and place their lives on the line so that this nation could remain free.
Who are the Veterans? They are not politicians... although some politicians are veterans. They are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Liberal, Conservative.. of every political stripe. The thing that they have in common is that they are free to be anything that they wish.
The Veteran is the cashier in the supermarket, or at Walmart. The Veteran may be your doctor, or your mechanic. The Veteran might be the nurse in the ER who worries over you when you come in hurt or ill, or he/she may be the cab driver that takes you to the hospital. The Veteran is a student, a father, a mother, a grandfather or grandmother. Your favorite aunt.. or uncle. The Veteran might be that homeless person that everyone walks around as he or she sleeps in a doorway, desperately trying to escape the terrors of the war that continue to haunt them. The veteran is that quiet soul who lives down the street, and raises his hand to wave as you drive by. The Veteran is me... the Veteran is my friend..... the Veteran is everyman and everywoman... a citizen who is ordinary to people who come in contact with them every day.
Some veterans are true heroes, though most who are do not want to be known as a hero. They just know that they did a job that had to be done. Most veterans are the rank and file who just did the job that was given to them, without question.
Today, the nation comes together to salute them. I believe that the nation should salute them every day. Veteran's Day should not be just another holiday to hold clearance sales on. It should be a day of solemn remembrance.
If this essay seems rambling, it's because i wrote my thoughts down as they came to me, and I tend to ramble at times. There's one more thing I need to say: There are some today that chose to use the moment to rail against the government, while giving a backhanded recognition to the Veteran. To those I say "Please, save it for another day! This is the time to thank the Veteran and remember their sacrifice. It's not the time for your political agendas/"
In closing, I wish to thank all those that honored me on this day. It was my honor and my duty to serve. That is the price of freedom.
Peace and Love to all....
John Zaffino, November 10, 2014
Kent Lakes, New York