Unhappy Veteran’s Day.
As I stood in the crisp November morning last year during the Davenport Veterans Day Parade, I made a mental note to do what I could for the following year's parade attendance. As each group of veterans passed by, I wondered, why weren't more people there? Well, that next year is here. November 11th.
Vet's Day is a weekday where most people have school, or work, or maybe some other commitment to attend to. Even Michaels and I were at work in the morning, and snuck out to see the parade at the last minute.
But what if the Parade were the priority? The celebration of those who served, and the remembrance of those who've passed should be a bigger part of our everyday, and certainly of our Veterans Day. I think schools who don't organize a mini-field trip to the parade are missing out on a great opportunity to see that the freedoms they learn about in class come with a living breathing price. Sacrifice. Honor. Dedication. Are there better lessons being taught in school than those displayed during an hour-long parade of our past, present, and future service members?
I know how ideas can leak into the mainstream, and I hope enough people read or share this if they agree that our veterans should be appreciated more in general, but especially on the day designated for them. Maybe a mayor will see it. Maybe a school principal. Maybe a student band director will offer his or her school's band to march and play alongside these heroes. Maybe a parent will decide to ditch a half-day of daycare for the little ones to come see living history. Maybe kids could stand and wave instead of scramble for candy.
In the 60 or so days until the parade, what if just one person convinced another person to attend this year's parade for the first time? I think Davenport can lead the Quad Cities, and the midwest, in genuine appreciation for these vets.
Below is a link to a segment of our show today where we first mentioned the idea of more attendance at our Veterans Day Parade. It came after reading some heartfelt conversation I received from a mom who was seeing her son off to Kuwait. I am constantly amazed by the sacrifice made by these few and their families to keep our shores safe, and Cindy's description of some other families there saying good-bye to spouses and moms or dads as they go off to distance service is one everyone should hear.
When I hear the National Anthem, I often think of my grandfather serving overseas in WWII. It's hard to picture the man I knew--strong, tender, smart--as a 20 year-old kid ducking for cover as planes shot at their location. I can picture him as a german grenade shouted hot shrapnel into his legs and chest, but continuing to patrol because he could still walk, while others in his battalion never got the chance. A scared kid, along with other scared kids, facing their fears, and the fears of a watching nation on the sidelines, still, bringing home victory to that same nation's grateful citizens. A high price to pay.
Generation after generation, enemy after enemy, new warriors rise up to put their lives at risk for those at home--so that we might live up to the ideals we are taught in school about what it means to be an American Citizen. It's what they do. I feel like maybe it's not too much to ask that we...
...go to a parade in their honor.