So, it’s Veterans Day and my husband, the former First Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, is at work.
Many of the rest of us will be out at parades, or remembering in individual ways the sacrifices that veterans here and those long gone have made for the sake of freedom. It’s an odd irony that I am sure is shared by many around the region today, who got up, made the coffee, and headed out the door as if it was any other day.
But when you come down to it, it really isn’t like any other day.
My husband didn’t see battle. But he still chose to serve his country. He enlisted, and carried out his duties for years. It was all before I knew him. But it’s as much a part of his history as the military school he went to as a child. That his father went to before him. And his father.
I wouldn’t blame him for feeling a little forgotten when he got in the truck this morning (in the pitch dark, at 5 a.m.) to start the drive to Providence. Where he will go about his day as he always does, with no one the wiser about his past.
I cringe when people settle in to tell interminably long stories about the good old days with the words, “I remember when ….” That’s when you try to make a quick escape. But, here’s my recollection. I remember when everyone had this day off. As well as the day after Thanksgiving. The day after Easter. And even the day after Halloween (if you went to Catholic schools.)
It was an opportunity to think about the blessings of the event and feel appreciation about our collective history. If only for a few hours, for veterans, on a cold day in November.
I’m not sure when things changed. I’ll admit I’m the first one glad when stores are open on major holidays when I forgot to get the wine, or the rolls, or need emergency cat food. And I guess I understand when employers have had to tighten up the ship and take away days off to cut costs.
But wouldn’t it be nice if every veteran felt the love today, even the ones toiling away in the daily routine? I know they would appreciate it. I know my husband would.