A kind of On the Square classic, our former webmaster Joe Carter’s What a Veteran Knows , published on Veteran’s Day four years ago. (Leon and Amy Kass selected it for the Veterans Day section of their American Calendar .) It begins:
Thank you for your service, they say, as they shake our hands and pat our backs.
We smile and thank them for their gratitude and try to think of something else to talk about. These encounters with strangers happen from time to time, though always on Veterans Day. Its the one time we can count on civiliansa group from which we came but can never fully returnto think about us.
On Veterans Day, they think of the men and women who march in the VFW parades. They think of their grandfathers, the gregarious World War II sailors, eager to share sea stories, and their uncles, stolid Vietnam-era airmen reticent to talk about the war. They think of the aunt who served in the Persian Gulf and the neighbors son who recently shipped off to Afghanistan.
They think of us when . . . more .
And my own civilian’s offering, written for Memorial Day but relevant to this one: Old Men Deserving of Gratitude .