When I was just a young lad, every year on the 11th day of November, my dad, or in his absence, my grandfather would climb a wooden ladder, insert a metal pole into an old rusty bracket and proudly display the flag of our nation bearing its 13 stripes and 50 stars. Each stripe being a symbolism of the 13 original colonies. Each star being a symbolism of each of the 50 states that make up these United States. Each year when I would ask him why he would climb that ladder in rain, shine (or snow), he would simply state, “to thank a veteran”.
To thank a veteran. For the longest time while growing up, that basic phrase was just trivial words to me. Yes, I knew that Veteran’s Day was a holiday and we as a nation were supposed to pause and remember those that served in our armed forces. I also knew that Veteran’s Day meant the day off from school so I could play backyard football with my buddies. It meant my mother and grandmother would get excited over the big department store sales that became such a common marketing event that it has survived through this date. And, as I got older I mocked (and was envious of) federal, state and bank employees who enjoyed the day off, while the rest of us hard working souls had to man the registers at our local stores and restaurants.
A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
To thank a veteran. Although many men and woman have dedicated and unfortunately lost their lives to maintain the freedoms for all to enjoy, it was not until December 7, 1941 that all Amercians fully understood what freedom was. And, more importantly, how those brave men and woman serving in the military fought to protect our freedom both at home and abroad. In an instant life in the U.S. changed and in the words of FDR, that day became “A date which will live in infamy”.
I was long from being born on that dark day, more commonly known as Pearl Harbor day, but my dad was. He was a young man growing up in a steel town full of patriots. Although he was the son of a military veteran, he admits he had no desire to be associated with active duty military. Until, he states, that date which will live in infamy. He, along with millions of Americans stood proud of its men and women in uniform and praised their bravery. When he finally reached the age to legally enlist, he proudly rode his bike to the local recruiter’s office and joined the Navy.
Now, history books tell us there were a lot of positives that came about following the end of WWII. Arguably, one of the greatest economic expansions the U.S. has ever enjoyed was born out of our nations need to support the war. After the conclusion of the war, Americans eagerly celebrated and welcomed all veterans with parades, posters, and the utmost respect. Americans also saw the biggest boom in population ever imagined, followed by one of the biggest housing booms ever witnessed. A child for every man and woman, a house for every child. Thank you, veterans!
Another Day Our Nation Will Never Forget
To thank a veteran. My father spent a full 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Spending much of his career engaged in the perhaps the most unpopular of foreign “conflicts” between countries thousands of miles away (read, Vietnam War). By the end of our military’s exit from Indochina, the proudness of our nation had mostly worn off and what it meant to be a veteran was almost all but forgotten. The military became more of a job and ranks grew out of the necessity for employment rather than the desire to display patriotism. Then, it happened (again).
September 11, 2001. I watched with horror, from the safety and comfort of my home office, as two iconic buildings crumbled down forever changing an iconic landscape. I watched in horror as the security of our nation’s capital was breeched by our own commercial airline. I watched in horror as a commercial airline went down just miles from that very town my father spent his childhood years. Those of my generation and younger could not believe our homeland was so viciously threatened. Those of my father’s generation could not believe our homeland was threatened – again.
Thank A Veteran For All You Own and Enjoy
On this Veterans Day, on behalf of all of us at Great Percent, some of whom are also military veterans, we want to extend our thanks to all veterans. Your service to this wonderful country will never again be forgotten by our generation nor our kids’ generation. And, hopefully, we will never endure another conflict, war or act of aggression against our great nation. But, if we do, we are proud to say that we know there are millions of men and woman standing ready to put their lives on the line to protect every man, woman and child who live in this county regardless of race or origin of birth.
Oh, and my dad, on this day every year he still climbs a ladder (now aluminum) and hangs his stars and stripes. And, I guarantee that if you were to see him and ask him why, at his age, is he still climbing that ladder he will proudly tell you, to thank a VETERAN!