My family is light, when it comes to veterans… and perhaps this isn't all that unique — but I can't name a single ancestor who's been a veteran. My great-grandfathers on both sides weren't alive during a war … and both grandfathers were too young for WWI and too old for WWII. Dad was too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam. So it shouldn't be surprising that I never really thought to much about veterans, as a kid.
That is, until junior high… the junior high I attended used the ASVAB test (a standardized military aptitude test) to gauge school successes on a number of fronts. For their generosity in providing the test, the military was given access to our scores. I scored in the 99th percentile. Unsurprisingly, I was soon barraged with all sorts of recruiting proposals. I wasn't hip to the idea, so I registered as a conscientious objector. The proposals stopped almost immediately.
It was also around this time that I became politically aware… and fell in love with a number of more liberal causes (no nukes, the Dukakis campaign, and the like), and any appreciation for our veterans was sidetracked by a certain level of distrust.
Fast forward a few years, and today I can't help but tear-up when I think of the sacrifices asked of our armed services — and the invaluable part they play in our enduring freedom. Don't misunderstand: I'm still very leery of the military-industrial complex, and an ardent opponent to our current military engagements. But I learned somewhere in the intervening years that I could hate a war without hating our soldiers.
So today, on Veterans Day, I'm thinking of our men and women in uniform. And I'm grateful. Thank you.
NB: Yes; I re-wrote the post completely. I can only think that maybe I was tired or hungry when I posted the original.