We hear it at least a few times per year: “The home of the free because of the brave.”
Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day.
It’s all over social media, television commercials, print ads, billboards.
Here in Rochester, Minn., Metafile’s headquarters, the city is bustling with activities and special discounts for former and current veterans for Veterans Day. The Annual Veterans Day Program at the Rochester Event Center, speakers at the Heintz Center, free or discounted meals at restaurants, even free car washes.
Veterans Day is more than just a day of the week, it’s a symbol of how veterans should be treated every day. While most of us will never be able to conceptualize what it means to fight for our country, many can.
“It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don't regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn't save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I'm not naive, and I don't romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job.” – Chris Kyle
“The soldiers that didn't come back were the heroes. It's a roll of the dice. If a bullet has your name on it, you're a hero. If you hear a bullet go by, you're a survivor.” – Bob Feller
These are thoughts that will never cross most of our minds, feelings we’ll never feel, experiences we’ll never have and memories that will never haunt us. But, for nearly 22 million veterans in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau) and more than 2 million troops (NPR)-- including active military members, reserves, the National Guard and the Air National Guard-- these thoughts, feelings, experiences and memories are more than familiar.
This is why, since 1954 on the 11th of November, we have taken a day to thank a veteran, give them a free meal, throw a parade and shamelessly sport our red, white and blue. Our veterans are the very reason for the popular adage, “The home of the free because of the brave.”
So, let’s take the veteran recognition beyond Nov. 11, 2014. While this holiday is a beautiful way to thank our country’s heroes, let’s find a reason every day.
From all of us here at Metafile, we thank all veterans for your service, your sacrifice and all that you have done that we will never be able to put into words. Yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day.