Veterans Day, a relic of the “war to end all wars” that didn’t, can be like Labor Day, filled with activities other than reflection on those honored by the day.
Today, it’s ubiquitous to hear soldiers and veterans “thanked for their service,” but to be meaningful that has to be more than the reflex “Bless you!” response to a sneeze.
For many veterans the current wide recognition and gratitude for service stands in sharp contrast to how that service was received at the time. For LGBT service members and veterans in particular it is only a brief time since they would have been reviled, humiliated, and dismissed had they been discovered.
So, on this day, lift up any serving or veteran member of the armed forces. Tell them your thanks are heartfelt and genuine. If they are LGBT, tell them you know the additional sacrifice they made. Doing this is not a small thing — it’s huge. It’s part of the healing we, as advocates, must bring to those whose shoulders we stand on: recognition and appreciation.
“Thank you” are very powerful words — simple to say, profound in their impact.
Member, Board of Directors, ReconcilingWorks
Retired U.S. Army Infantry Officer