Today is November 11th, 2011. Or 11-11-11.
It's pretty cool when dates come up like that. When something big happens on them it's easy to remember when it happened and for some who might be superstitious it's a bit freaky or scary. Luckily I am not one of those people. I know someone about to give birth and today would be a good day for it. The child would always have 11-11-11 to write down in the "birthdate" slot on forms and papers.
But I'm thinking about 11-11-11 more today because it's Veterans Day. It's a date picked on the calendar to officially stop and thank all the Americans who, whether drafted or enlisted, gave their time and put their life on the line for our country. This day is for those soldiers who LIVED to tell about it. (If they didn't then we will honor the dead who gave the "ultimate sacrifice" on Memorial Day.)
I have always had very mixed feelings about the military. In reality I know it's necessary to have the military to keep our country safe and free. Without the men and women who are in the Armed Forces we would very well have been taken over by another country, one with dictators and ideas we do not believe in. Our forefathers came here for a life of freedoms and fairness, that even with some problems, is still an amazing way to live!! We Americans are very fortunate.
So, this musing is not to talk about the problems we still have here in our country. Instead, it's to remind ME that today is a celebration day for all those who served and have helped keep this wonderful place we all call home the way it is. I admire those who have fought for it. I know they are proud, and I also know they are forever changed.
So, here's my confession: I put God first, then my family, then my country. (3 things I will NOT forget Gov. Perry! ha) Seriously, in that order! So, I sometimes think and struggle with what God thinks of how we fight each other and kill in wars. Murder is wrong. But when it's organized and for a "better good" is it acceptable? Then, I think of my family. I have 2 daughters that I love beyond words and I admit, I am glad they didn't serve in the military. I feel guilty for saying it. Had there been a draft 5 - 7 years ago I don't know what I would have said to them. Encouraged them to be a draft-dodger? Maybe.
I have some cousins who I love, and who have served and have children who have served - and rightly, they are very proud. Please know I am not writing this to be offensive. Really, I admire what military service takes, mentally and physically. I admire the strong belief of being in an organization that keeps our country free. So, thank you. Really, thank you!!
I know learning to use a weapon, learning to fight, and being a member of the armed forces is tough. It's life-changing. War always brings with it pain and death. It is not something ever totally out of the minds of those who saw action. Even if they come back to the US and don't talk about it, the memories and the "mindset" is still there. Yes, forever changed. So, today, 11-11-11, I stop and say I'm glad you stayed alive and are living as a veteran of war. I admire your bravery and your willingness to put your very life on the line for America. I truly thank you for that.