Last night, my son, Owen, sent me the picture that adorns this post.
This is my 17-year old son Owen who is a member of his school’s JROTC program, as well as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps Twin Cities Squadron 097.
Next week this same son and his father embark on a trip together to New Orleans for the International Symposium and Conference on World War II.
The same young man who seeks out knowledge and understanding about the history of his nation and the men and women who fought and died protecting it and its freedoms and liberties.
A young American who represents, along with millions of other young men and women like him, an unlimited potential to lead our great nation forward into the future.
Today is, of course, Veteran’s Day.
Those who are not familiar with it or its origins are invited to use any available search engine that exists on the internet.
Or, you may understand it by the fact you are reading this. That you are in a warm home with electricity, running water and food on your table.
Perhaps you saw Veteran’s Day on the ballot you marked your choice for a candidate, or the letter to the editor you sent to the paper blistering a politician and the fact there was no knock on the door from the government imprisoning you for having done so.
Veteran’s Day can be seen in our schools where children are given the opportunity to learn and the road we can drive whatever car we choose to purchase.
It can be seen in the headstones of those Veterans who have gone before those who walk above the ground today having served our nation in ways we know and those we never will.
You may understand Veteran’s Day by the stores and shops you are in this weekend offering you the freedom to buy things at a discount even if you have no need for them and you simply want them because they bring you some level of joy or happiness.
Veteran’s Day can be heard on the radio in the sound of a crowd roaring its approval at a college football game or booing the umpire for blowing a call.
Veteran’s Day can be found at a hospital in the form of men and women who fought for our nation’s freedom and liberty and while we walk in its glory they lie on a bed from the wounds they suffered to give us that right and privilege.
Throughout our community you will find Veterans in our government, our businesses, our schools, our churches and our neighborhoods.
You will find our Veterans on the streets, as well. Without homes. Nearly 40,000 of them on any given night.
Freezing. Hungry. Sick. Tired.
America has grown too willing to find heroes at our stadiums and ballparks to applaud but too complacent to find them in our streets to comfort and hold and welcome back to our community.
Veteran’s Day is today.
It can pass you by as you shop the aisle of your favorite store or enjoy the burger special at the pub down the street thanks to a sale in “honor” of Veterans Day.
Or, you can stop what you’re doing for just a minute or a second of this day.
If you cannot find a Veteran to thank then find a freedom or liberty he and she gave you that you value above all others.
Pray for it. Express gratitude for it. Honor it.
My son, like his sister, are my daily reminder of Veterans Day.
The warm bed they have, the food they eat, the roof over their head and the dog that seeks their attention and approval are not given to them without a cost to someone.
Somebody. A Veteran. Fought and served for the right of their Mom and Dad to have the ability to work to make a living and to have the choice on how to raise them to be the best people possible.
To be proud Americans.
Who recognize and honor those who walked in shoes I never did to defend a country and its freedom and my right to give them what they have today.
Look beyond the date on the calendar today to know it is Veteran’s Day.
Look at the life in front of you and know that today is a day you live because someone else made it so.
An American Veteran.