Monday, November 11, 2013

Thoughts on Veteran's Day

The citizens of the United States have a different relationship with the Military than many countries do.  The Military is seen as being part of the citizenry (and actually vice versa, as a reading of the Second Amendment will show).  In many countries the military is seen as separate and distinct from the populace.

This isn't unique - the same dynamic has long been in play certainly in the Anglosphere, and other nations as well (c.f. Switzerland).  This has resulted in the Military being seen as high status, and commanding broad respect through society.
It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given us
Freedom of the Press.
It's the soldier, not the poet, who has given us
Freedom of Speech.
It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the
Freedom to Demonstrate.
It's the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the
Right to a Fair Trial.
It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag and
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who gives the protestor the right to burn the flag.
And so in the United States, today is the celebration of Veteran's Day.  The rest of the Anglosphere (and other places) hold today as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, recalling the Millions slaughtered in the Great War which ended 95 years ago today.  America does not need a Remembrance Day, as we have our own Memorial Day holiday (an outgrowth of the American War of Southern Independence a half century earlier than the War To End All Wars).

As a result, there's less sadness here.  On these shores, today is a day for the living, not for the dead.  We see signs at small restaurants saying "Veterans Eat Free", which would be difficult for those asleep in Flanders' Fields.

But even here it's worth a moment's reflection on the War where Europe committed suicide, when a whole generation was butchered and damned.  And how they nearly took us with her, then and 20 years later.  It's rarely the politicians who caused the problem who bleed.

Thanks to all who served, including Dad, Uncle Dick, and nephew Daniel.  The citizens - of whom you were once part and to which you returned - are grateful indeed that this nation does not fear its own Armed Forces.


juvat said...

Good post. I'm glad you talked about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. My pastor regularly has all the Veterans stand up on the Sunday prior to Memorial Day. I'm perfectly fine with standing up on Veterans day, but am not worthy of being honored on Memorial Day, but I can't seem to get him to understand. More's the pity.

RabidAlien said...

Great post.

@Juvat: at least your pastor is trying. Pastor of the church I just left usually forgot, and it wasn't until I brought it up (quite possibly at a slightly increased volume level) that they included a patriotic song or two.

Jester said...

I agree with juvat Borepatch, great post and I too have had difficulty explaining the differences between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. I politely thank everyone on Memorial day for their thoughts but the best way to explain it is to use the definition of Memorial itself, that Memorial day is for those that have died, particularly in combat. Veteran's day is for those of us that are still alive.

Dave H said...

I explain it this way: Veterans Day is for those who served, and Memorial Day is for those who died. Fewer words, easier to remember.

Six said...

Thanks BP.