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A THANK YOU TO VETERANS

Three days to remember this November.

We all know about Thanksgiving because of its popularity and food focus.

Dressed or not, however, the 20-pound main attraction never rendered a salute, drove a tank, jumped out of a plane or stood drenched at parade rest. Although, turkeys do eat dirt, walk and run in groups and their heads rotate 360 degrees like tank turrets.

So let’s keep Thanksgiving – at least the ceremonial and commercial part – in perspective. Being with friends and family and giving thanks for life and liberty is always special, but don’t forget two other November days.

For Marines, November 10 is special because it’s the 240th birthday of the Corps. Since 1775, millions of men and women have earned the title that becomes an attitude and a way of life centered on teamwork, resilience and responsibility.

Early Marines trained in Philadelphia, Norfolk, Puget Sound and Mare Island. Modern-day Marines trained at Parris Island, Quantico, Montford Point and San Diego. None will ever forget that experience.

The next day – November 11 – is Veterans Day, a national salute to all of those who have worn the nation’s uniforms. According to the U.S. Census, more than 57 million men and women have served in the U.S. military. Currently, 0.4 percent of the population is serving on active duty.

Veterans Day brings its annual traditions – parades, retail establishments and restaurants offering discounts or free meals and hundreds offering the familiar “thank you for your service.” Yet, veterans get uplifting moments and true conversations when they talk with other veterans. The era doesn’t matter; the rank or service doesn’t matter. What matters is that veterans understand one another and have a lot of things in common.

One of poignant events at each Marine Corps Ball in November is the recognition of the youngest and oldest Marine in attendance. How many veterans smile after a passing car with a military sticker blows a horn or veterans of different eras exchange nods when viewing their respective caps or attire with military designations?

However, not all veterans are getting “thank you” and applause. It’s true that many are being treated, counseled, celebrated and afforded job opportunities that their earlier counterparts were not. However, as media reports point out, problems and delays persist for veterans of all eras.

Still, some veterans are invisible. They are homeless veterans.

In fact, 12 percent of all of America’s homeless are veterans. Among homeless veterans, eight percent are women. That is not deserving of a parade, a thank you or applause. It should not happen in America.

For this and each coming November, I hope that Americans fulfill their promise to the men and women who stepped up and sacrificed much. Please help our homeless veterans. More importantly, I hope that Americans view every day as Veterans Day. America’s veterans deserve nothing less.

Author, coach and retired journalist Glenn Proctor is a former Marine Corps gunnery sergeant and Vietnam veteran. He spent six years on active duty and seven years in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Comments

  1. Thank you Glenn. It is too easy to forget that the daily freedom, I enjoy was bought and paid for by others. I AM grateful.
    Now that I have married a Marine, I am learning that work “responsibility” is way heavier that I realized on him. Thank you for not only your service during your time in the military, but also the day to day ….. when you continue to give to others around you.
    God bless you,

  2. North of the U.S. border – November 11th is Remembrance Day. A day to remember the sacrifices made by those who died for our freedom. Those who never returned. Those still overseas.
    Like our British counterparts, we wear the poppy as a sign of remembrance.
    Lest we forget.

  3. Thanks. I know my father, one of the Montford Point Marines, is smiling from heaven. Once a Marine, always a Marine. I grew up watching my parents dress and leave for the Marine Corps ball. They looked amazing and being a kid the word “ball” made it sound magical. Plus mom might have on a chiffon dress with rhinestones on the bodice and dad was killing it in his dress blues. I am grateful for the memories and for the service of all of you who have answered the call.

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