“Some gave All, but All gave Some”
As of September 30, 2010 there were 22.7 million veterans in the United States with 8.1 percent of those women, a number that was staggering to find. Living in a post 9/11 generation many of our veterans are in their late 20’s and early 30’s yet many times when we hear the word “veteran” we see images of our fathers and grandfathers, not our brothers, nephews and best friends. Coming from a military family, we take honoring others in the military very seriously. Oftentimes holidays, such as Veteran’s Day, are overlooked as another “government holiday”. Living near large military facilities there are often large celebrations and parades honoring the veterans, both living and those that have passed. I’m always amazed to drive by and see all the beautiful American flags waving in the wind proudly.
My grandfathers were USMC and Navy respectively, and both passed away before I was born but my family always held tight to the respect and pride that is instilled within a military family. Over the last few years I have become close friends with another USMC veteran, Nick, who is in his early 30’s like myself. I’ve found myself thirsting for more knowledge about the military and its veterans as our friendship grew. Listening to the war stories he trusted to tell me along with good and bad memories often left me thinking about how much we take for granted having not lived on the active side of the military. It’s easy as a civilian to forget what military men and women give up everyday as we hurry through our lives with work and family.
Did you know that each branch of the military often have their own “language” that they speak with each other? Or did you know that many things in day to day life when combined together are symbolic for the military? When I told my USMC friend, Nick, about writing this blog he pointed me to a great poem that shows some of these symbolic things.
(tradition possibly began with the River Rats)
The Table represents those service members and civilians who could not be with us this evening and are to this day missing in action.
The Table Is Round….To show our everlasting concern.
The Table Cloth Is White….Symbolizing the purity of motives when answering the call to serve.
The Single Red Rose, Displayed In A Vase….Reminds us of the loved ones and friends of the missing Americans who keep the faith, awaiting for answers.
The Vase Is Tied With A Red Ribbon….A symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.
A Slice Of Lemon On A Bread Plate….Reminds us of the bitter fate of all those captured and missing in a foreign land.
A Pinch Of Salt….Symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
The Bible….Representing strength gained through faith, sustaining those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
The Glass Is Inverted….Symbolizing their inability to share this evening’s toast.
The Chair Is Empty….THEY ARE MISSING.
So as we prepare to celebrate Veteran’s Day this year take a moment to shake the hand of a veteran young or old, listen to a story of an experience that they want to share, lay some flowers on a gravestone, or simply pat them on the back and say “Thank You”. Our veterans carry an everlasting weight on their shoulders and these small acts of gratitude often mean more than you and I will ever know.