Friday, November 14, 2003

Veterans Day 

I know it is no longer Veterans Day, but I was thinking about this back on the 11th and I really felt it important to share with the world.

I remember growing up, how important the 11th of Novemeber was, without always really understanding why. I grew up in Australia, and while we don't call it Veterans Day, the 11th Day of the 11th Month is still a day where we remember those who fought and fell.
Maybe it's because I was younger then, or maybe it's because I have studied so much history now, but I feel like the American version of Veterans Day has been tainted by current political beliefs. As a child, I remember standing at 11am, to observe a minuete of silence, to think about those who have gone before and the sacrafices they made. One year, I was working in the city on this day. At the heart of a middle intersection, the entrance of a train station, across from the State Library, down the street from a college- basically in the heart of town. I very vividly remember stepping outside right before 11am, watching the bustle and then WAM. The clock struck and it was like a freezing spell had been put over the city. The Trams and cars stopped in the middle of the street. People stopped walking and talking, sound died. It was a ghost town- even though it was still filled with people. It gave you a feeling of what it would have been like in any town in Europe during WWI and 2, deathly silent. A minuete later... with a whoosh... the city started up again. It was as if nothing had happened, and yet, in that brief moment, I felt a connection with those who have died fighting for their country.
That is what veterans Day is about.
It's not about talking about the War on Terror or Bin Ladin. It's not about talking about our own soldiers. It's certainly not about how great America is, because god knows I could tell you a few "terrorist" like things that America has done- and still does (Indian extermination anyone?). I heard a radio broadcast on the 11th, basically talking National pride, how great America is. Lets wipe out terrorism. I am not saying I hate the US... dammit I live here. But this struck me so raw on this holy day for those who have fought.
It's about ALL soldiers. Theirs, ours, yours. It's about those who have died and those who still fight today. It's about the fact that these men and women get up every day, and do what has to be done. They don't make the choices or descions. They follow their orders.
I don't care if that soldier is American, Australian, Israeli, Palestinian, Russian, German, Italian..... it does not matter. We are all human, and in the game of war, we all die. No matter what uniform we wear. And THAT my friends is the point of Veterans day.


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