It's Veterans Day today. November 11, 2014. I keep thinking that our Canadian and British friends have it right, though, in calling this Remembrance Day. That is truly at the heart of the matter.
If there's one thing about our veterans, it's that they should never be forgotten. Any branch of service, any amount of time.
We must remember veterans like double amputee Noah Galloway, whose story of grit and valor and ongoing perseverance touches many.
We must remember members of the "greatest generation" like my Granddad Herron and others who served in World War II.
We must remember and thank others like my friend Kal Dawson, who drove one of the first Marine tanks into Kuwait City as American-led troops liberated that place from the grip of Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm. It means thanking friends like Andy Gienapp who served in the war on terrorism in Iraq, and remembering my former student Brad Arms who lost his life there.
And we must always recall that conflict, in some way shapes us. Ninety-six years ago, World War I (a.k.a., the Great War) ended with an armistice in a railway car in Compiegne, France. That war more than anything else forced the crumbling of the well-meaning but reality-impaired movement of progressivism and its cardinal doctrine of the inevitability of humankind's progress. The horrors of Ypres, Verdun, and Passchendaele choke-slammed a collective worldview all across the planet when we saw what people were capable of doing. Conflict will always be part of what Private Joker called "the duality of man" in Full Metal Jacket, of humanity's fallen condition. That shaping work is met with the courageous action of the finest people on the globe, men and women who give their blood, sweat, and tears to hold up on their shoulders the freedoms we so often take for granted.
If you know a veteran, thank them today. And always remember.