Its a special time during the year, when those who have served-protecting US and other spaces of international domains-are given the recognition they deserve. Its a times of being able to dedicate one day for those, who have given their lives, and their time, to ensure that future generations have a chance. As we move to honor this day, we are given the opportunity to reflect on the elder populations. Just think about how many veterans are prevalent within that category. Ponder on those, who witnessed the process of sustaining freedom, and what it cost to keep it. Freedom means that someone loses their life in the process. Freedom means that men and women witnessed the lifeless bodies of fellow comrades. And yet, on the battle field, they had to keep going, so that the lives of the fallen were not in vain. People talk about freedom; reflecting upon it. Yet, do the masses of United States citizens understand those, who sacrifice, in order for freedom to continue to ring in US soil? Do we understand the longtime consequences for those who stand up and commit to the charge of fighting for the existence of United States soils? The unfortunate part is that very few do. The current generation of American (US) youth seem to be out of touch with that reality. Its easy to take something for granted when you didn’t have to fight for it. Its easy to be indifferent to basic rights and necessities, in this country; indifferent to the point, where you are docile in ensuring those rights for the next generation.
What people fail to understand about our veterans, is that many continue to live the effects and aftermath of serving their country. From PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), lost time with friends and loved ones, homelessness, and lack of financial resources, there are many challenges being faced by too many of our veterans.
Dear America, what is happening to our veterans? What is happening to the United States, where citizens have become apathetic to the presence of those who sacrificed for our Being? What is happening to this country, where younger generations do not understand the significance of veterans, and what they sacrificed in order for their presence to be?
Veterans’ Day is more than a day of remembrance. In addition to the memory, there is also the reclaiming. What has been taken from our veterans? Furthermore, what do they need to gain back?
Veterans’ Day is a sacred day! Its more than a celebration. Its a day of reckoning, and a time for younger generations to catch up, should they happen to lag behind in the her/history. Knowledge is power, and it’s a powerful tool for change! When given the opportunity to hear the voices of elders-their stories-from their own mouths, there is an electric magic, radiating throughout one’s very core. The power and magnetic shock cannot be denied. Its euphoric and filled with a wealth of wonder and affirmation in one’s identity!
There is a wellness process for veterans, and their ability to holistically navigate the regular world, after active duty or war. It requires making peace with the past; who we lost, what we lost! It mandates a level of moving through the best of times, in understanding what it means to live, as if one never left. It’s a challenge. Nevertheless, it’s well worth it.
As we move through Veterans’ Day, and the significance for mental health, civilians are gifted with the opportunity to show empathy, compassion, and care for our veterans. And, I don’t mean simply celebrating the day, posting tweets or messages on Facebook or Twitter. Its more than that. It requires, listening. Its hearing the stories and sounds from the elder veterans; allowing our minds to be filled with images of what it was like, out there. What was it like on Normandy? What was it like in the World War II Pacific? What did they experience in Vietnam? The questions go on and they are answered, through the spoken world. In listening to these stories of service, a person is awakened. They hear what happened before, in order to appreciate the beauty of, now. Ah! Now it makes sense. Now, things are clear. You see it, now.
When you have heard the story, you can no longer turn away from the issues of veterans. Do you remember that homeless veteran, who walked passed, or drove by? Pretending as if he wasn’t there, you didn’t think that he mattered. Knock. Knock. You just heard the story. So, he matters. She matters.Do you remember the Veterans Affairs office in your local district? They were looking for volunteers, and you found yourself too busy to give of your time. Well now, you feel compelled to do so. Go through your schedule, and see where to have free spacing. Because, now, that will be, their time. And then there is that friend, family member, or fellow neighbor, who just returned home from active duty. When was the last time you called to check on them? When was the last time you went over to check up on them? Are you spending time WITH them? Now, you have to share time with me, and record the stories.
As we continue to celebrate the existence and presence of Veterans, let us push more for action. How do we honor our veterans with our actions? How do we keep their sacrifices alive, within our minds, so that we do not ever take them for granted? Now, we have the stories. If we don’t know them, we search for them. Allowing their words to guide our spaces, so that we draw closer to them. Their pains become ours; and we move towards the healing process with them. Their issues are ours, and we solve their problems with them. They are never alone; nor should they ever be.
One of the sacred Beings of our living veterans, is that they are primary resources for why the current generations of US citizens have the freedoms that we do. They serve as first person narratives for why we should never take our freedoms for granted. Freedom is never free! There is always a price. Someone sacrificed their lives, for the benefit of many. Somewhere, a wife and children missed out on pivotal years with their husband and father. Somewhere a mother and aunt did not get to physically be there, when members of her family passed away. Being away to protect one’s nation, and the nations of others, requires that time be sacrificed. And time is a previous element, in its own right. There are soldiers whose bodies never made it back home; which means that their families will never have traces of their physicality, near them. They will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. These realities should never be taken for granted. Ever!
Dear Younger Generation, Of the United States, are you keeping alive the memory of our veterans, TODAY?