“We need to remind people, that the real heroes wear dog tags…” said Chaplain Scalf, Crossroads Hospice, Akron-Canton, OH.
It is a powerful truth.
In a society where millions of people tune in and tweet to Kim Kardashian, and Donald Trump is considered a national hero, have we possibly misplaced some of our admiration? Are we exercising our full extent of honor? Do we all recognize the men and women who have proudly donned dog tags and given up so much for us?
There are an estimated 22,328,279 veterans currently living in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million registered as “disabled”.
The “luck of the draw” for veterans is capricious and fickle. Some veterans go through the military with nary a scratch on their back. Others pay the ultimate price. But all of them, no matter the physical trauma, give up their lives to serve. World travel, sponsored education, a steady paycheck – these also come with the condition that if there ever needs be another D-Day, they will be the first in line. These are odds few of us would choose to play.
“Many of these men gave up their whole life to answer a call. They walked away from loved-ones, from friends, from careers. Their sense of duty and country was THAT strong,” – Chaplain Burden, Crossroads Hospice, Cincinnati, OH.
Not every veteran’s tale is a “Saving Private Ryan”. Many have acts of inspirational heroism that will leave you slack-jawed; others have stories that will bring tears to your eyes. And lets be honest, some of them have tales of years spent in boring places with little to do. Still, they all served. Whether disarming bombs, rescuing hostages, digging ditches, or pushing papers – millions of men and women have sacrificed substantial portions of their lives for the call of their flag. Those of us who stand on the sidelines are here to cheer, not to judge.
“Never ever take anything for granted” – Chaplin Barnes, Crossroads Hospice, Memphis, TN
How many heroes do you know? Guaranteed, more than a handful. With over 22 million of them out there, you’re only a few feet away, everyday, from a man or woman who was ready to save your life and fight for your freedom. Veterans are not just a group of grouchy white-haired old men downing dollar drinks at the VFW. Old and young, male and female; our heroes don’t wear costumes. We don’t always know when they walk among us. Many of us have family members who have served; parents, siblings, and even children. Our daughters and sons now defend our heart and home. While our revered WW2 vets slowly leave an Earth they ensured survived, new veterans defend our country in Afghanistan, proving we have a lot of heroes to recognize.
Over the next few weeks, leading up to the 4th of July, we will be talking about veteran recognition – remembering “Real Heroes Wear Dog Tags”. We will discuss it in abstract and real worlds ways, in honest measure. Your feedback and questions are appreciated. Your experiences as a veteran or with a veteran are very much desired. We are going to tell some stories, share some information, and maybe shed a tear or two. But, most importantly, we are going to all try and give our veterans a few special moments – it is, after all, the least we can do…
Next in our Real Hereos Wear Dog Tags Series: Healing The Family.