Veterans Day is a special day that, unfortunately, isn't truly a holiday in many communities, in the sense that we don't take a whole day to honor not only the sacrifices made by those who served our country, but also what those sacrifices mean to us and our families.
There will be many ceremonies today (Friday), of course, including those held annually in Harford and Cecil counties, often followed by special luncheons hosted by organizations such as the American Legion and VFW. Some of us will attend, but many more will not.
In this day and age, despite wars raging and Americans still dying on foreign soil, the majority of us living in the United States are not military veterans. With Tuesday's presidential election over and a new president to be welcomed, we will still have had just one president since 1993 – George W. Bush – who spent any time in military service. From Harry Truman through George H.W. Bush, every U.S. president served in the military, many in combat. The farther we get from World War II, it seems less likely our country will elect a veteran to lead it, but that's for the future to decide.
If our veterans and our non-veterans who care about them sometimes wonder if their government and their fellow citizens really value their service and honor the commitment to provide health care and other services, we don't blame them. That safety net, we have come to believe, is rigged against them, to borrow a word from the next president. Maybe something will be done to fix the problem, but less than two months from the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the lot of the men and women leaving military service – voluntary military service – is extremely poor and most unconscionable when compared to how the country treated our veterans three generations ago.
Havre de Grace American Legion Post 47 will hold a memorial service in Tydings Park at 11 a.m., with lunch to follow at the Legion home at 501 St. John St. in Havre de Grace.
Aberdeen American Legion Post 128 will be joined by VFW Post 10028 in a service to honor veterans in the Aberdeen Veterans Memorial Park at 11 a.m. After the ceremony, a luncheon will be held at the VFW Post, 821 Old Philadelphia Road in Aberdeen.
Bel Air American Legion Post 39 will celebrate Veterans Day with a service at Bel Air Memorial Gardens, 809 Rock Spring Road in Bel Air, at 3 p.m. After the service there will be a luncheon at the Post home on Hickory Avenue.
If you can't attend, take a moment at 11 a.m. – the traditional time our nation once paused and fire sirens were sounded to mark the World War I Armistice – to reflect on the people who have served our country so we can do just that – take that a moment to say: "Thanks and may God bless America."