Wednesday is Veterans Day, which begs the question, “What have veterans done for you?” The obvious answers include responses like, “They keep America free,” and so on. This IS important, certainly, but I’d like to take a different approach and personalize the question to state, “What has A Veteran (as in singular) done for You?”
My dad served in the China-India-Burma Theater during World War II. Like millions of other veterans, when he got home he wanted to put the war behind him and focus on his wife, job and starting a family, which he did quite well I might add. (That alone is a lesson learned in modesty, but more on lessons learned in a bit.)
It’s funny that when I think about my late father I think a lot about his service in the U.S. Army because I never served in the military! But maybe that shouldn’t be so surprising because most of the lessons he taught me about his experiences in the war had more to do with life than with the military.
These lessons included: Be grateful for having food on the table and don’t waste food because he saw impoverished Indians rummaging through the scraps of foods his fellow soldiers threw away…while it was discarded by them, it was plenty good enough for the natives’ empty bellies. At mealtimes when I was growing up, if you didn’t like a certain food, then you said, “Pass.” But if you put it on your plate, you were supposed to eat it. Period.
He also taught me when I was young that, if I ever did join the military, to follow this motto to stay out of trouble… “Eyes and ears open, mouth shut.” Actually, I found out that observing an adage like that can save you from a whole heap of trouble in life regardless of whether it was in the service!
In short, veterans do even more for us than we realize. They show us what patriotism and devotion to duty look like, and that IS very important, but there is even more to it than that. What lessons have a veteran imparted on YOU that help you on the job and/or in life? Something to think about on Veterans Day.