Why Bother To Honor Veterans Day?

Why Bother To Honor Veterans Day?

On November 11, my fourth grade class presented a Veterans Day program. Our music teacher worked hard to bring a harmonious sound to the voices of my fourth grade students. In the classroom each morning, I practiced the songs, God Bless America, The Star Spangled Banner, and My Country Tis of Thee to help prepare them for their performance. I never grew tired of singing these songs with my students, and I was proud of them for how they stood erect and respectful before the American flag for the few minutes it took to sing these patriotic songs every morning.  

Then, the day of their performance arrived and they were excited and nervous as they filed up onto the stage. But, looking out at their audience, they became serious. Their parents, some who are veterans, were there to watch them, along with a few guest veterans, some grandparents and siblings. When they began singing though, their voices were clear and their smiling and enthusiastic faces captivated all of us. I was proud.

After the performance, I shook hands with some of the veterans and heard portions of their stories. One man in particular, courageously shared how, even though he is home from Afghanistan, settling back into life as a civilian has not been an easy transition. As a combat soldier, he told me, receiving certain training to perform missions is not something you can use once you are home and the memories of what you encountered in battle are not easily forgotten. 

In a way, I thought, some of our veterans fight more than one war. They return home from one, only to continue another battle within themselves. I will never know what it is like to be a soldier, but I am grateful for the soldiers who fought to maintain the sweet land of liberty in which we live.

Then, driving home from work, and traveling down the main street of our town, I was saddened by the scarcity of American Flags flown by our local businesses. Not everyone had the colors flying and I wondered why. After all the servicemen and women have done for us, it would seem there should be no reason to remember and respect them by flying the flag. 

Why bother to honor Veterans Day? It is worth it to honor our veterans by flying the American flag. After all, even fourth graders know that is the right thing to do.