Celebrating Veterans and Their Importance During Veteran’s Day

Since the creation of the United States, men and women in the armed forces have created a unique pool of people that defines the United States. By showing compassion, hard work, and loyalty, these individuals have formed an image that the United States as a whole should replicate. Veterans believe in the American Dream and protecting it and fighting for our country, which is truly heroic. Those who have served have volunteered to protect these rights with their lives. No one had to force them. Although, ones who were drafted during wars are just as special; they are still willing to sacrifice their minds, bodies, and lives in order to protect us, and most of the time, they do not ask for any special recognition. This is the entire reason veterans are important. They put their selfless nature for the good of all people, whether it be for their families, friends, country, or the world. They try to protect them all. Whether a soldier lives or dies, they still hold a fundamental piece of history and fundamental characteristics that should be an example to everyone who lives in the United States, and even the rest of the world, because they show the best of humanity, even though they do not come out the same person as they went in.

Although they have done fantastic feats for this country selflessly, veterans almost never come out of service unscathed, whether it is physically or mentally. For those who survived serving in the armed forces, most of the time they are left with PTSD and survivors guilt, where they question why they themselves are still alive while their friends died. This is something I hear my father, a former Navy SEAL from SEAL Team 2, say occasionally, typically around the Fourth of July or Veterans Day. My stoic, strong father, still feels this guilt that he got to live and have a family and a successful career, while all his closest friends he served with died. To this day, my father still feels immense guilt and almost shame, when he thinks about his best friend’s parents, because he has not really spoken to them since his friend died. My dad wants to write to them, but he has no idea where to start. As he has explained to me, he says, “How can I write to them and tell them about how I am doing, when I have an amazing family and am happy, when their son is dead, and never even got to have a life?” And since so much time has passed, the guilt has only increased. So, my father uses Veterans Day, The Fourth of July, and Memorial Day to remember his friends he loved, and as almost his own Thanksgiving Day, because he got to come home to have a life. The song, “God Bless America,” by Lee Greenwood, makes him tear up every single time he hears it. It makes him really think about his fallen friends. I have never seen my father cry other than when I am with him when we hear this song. Recently, I attended an event with my family, and I was sitting next to my father, and the song started playing before the national anthem was sung. I knew what this song meant to him, and sure enough, when I looked over, he was tearing up. So, when this is the cost for serving our country selflessly, why shouldn’t these heroes be celebrated? They have given up so much in order to protect the country and save their comrades. They have seen and lost so much, and they carry that with them for the rest of their lives.

Throughout my life, I have heard many stories of the service and the lives of different veterans. They have so many interesting stories. Particularly, the older generation demonstrates this. When I was younger, and even now, I love listening to my grandfather’s and my father’s stories about the SEALS and Pararescue. Similarly, they enjoyed hearing the stories of World War I and World War II veterans when they were young. They would sit in a diner with those veterans and listen eagerly to their stories. The circumstances the older generation of veterans lived and survived through are amazing. Until they are gone, one does not know how unique each one of their lives was. Because of this, they regret not asking more questions, because they feel that with the deaths of older veterans, they lose those stories that no news article or book or TV show can ever really describe.

War is extremely difficult, and it can cause horrible memories for the veterans, but there are also some fun and cool memories they have. Fun, personal memories of fallen friends or happy times in the center of chaos. These are the stories worth sharing, to remember that even in some of the worst possible situations the world can be in, there is still a light of good in humanity that veterans find. Despite what may be thought about them, they are not mindless killers, or heartless robots. They set a great example for the rest of the world on how to survive and thrive. Their love of country is something that should be shared to bring people together, especially in the trying times the world finds itself in right now. Soldiers, veterans, heroes. No matter what you call these people, they deserve so much respect for what they have done, and there should be no denying their beneficial role in the world and in this country, and without them, society would lose fantastic role models for current society and for generations to come.