Today was Veterans Day; the eleventh day of the eleventh month and designated by President Wilson in 1919 as a day to honor those who have given so much so that we here in the United States remain free.
It was a day for all of us to say thank you to those who have served our country in the military.
Over hills and across farmland, not far from where I live, is the Great Lakes National Cemetery. It sits on over 500 acres, was opened in 2005 and is the final resting place for thousands, and someday hundreds of thousands, of veterans and their spouses. The numbers, even now, are staggering and very visual as you look across row after row of white marble headstones. You can become lost in the vastness of it.
Or you can stop and wander, read a few of the names and messages found there.
Each stone honors an individual, a veteran yes, but also a person. A person that had a life outside the military, someone who laughed with family, hung out with friends, traveled, went fishing.
Sometimes the story on the headstone is simple.
And sometimes it gives you just a tiny glimpse of the person who once walked this earth.
So many of the stones reminds you how short life can be. How short it was for so many.
While we were out there we had something of a flyover. Five sand hill cranes flew in formation directly overhead, crying their own version of a patriotic melody.
It seemed fitting.
Today was Veterans Day. But really, shouldn’t we honor those who serve our country every day? Tomorrow, the day after Veterans Day, take a moment and thank a veteran. Smile at them. Shake their hand. Buy them a cup of coffee.
Make someone’s day. And yours.
Just say thank you.