Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You, Veterans!

This is one of my favorite songs and it honors some of my favorite people.

All this week at work, I've noticed that the Salt Lake County Library website has one announcement in their rotating announcement thingie about November holidays. It's to let people know that we'll be closed on Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. It didn't hit me until yesterday that those two holidays are quite appropriate to put together like that.

When I was in 8th grade, I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC for a week with my school. One of the things we got to do was visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Four of the students from our group got to lay a wreath on the tomb during the Changing of the Guard ceremony. There are few places in this world so peaceful and reverent and the Tomb of the Unknowns is one of them. You just see it in the guard that's posted there and there's a great spirit that fills the place.

I will always be grateful for the men and women who have risked their lives and sacrificed for this country. That is not a trite statement or just something appropriate to commemorate the day. I have an uncle who served in Korea and an uncle who served in Vietnam and I've had many friends serve in the military. Everyone that I've met who has served has done so gladly and with a sense of honor that you just don't get anywhere else. I admire all those who can do what is asked of them and who will sacrifice for people they might not even know. It is because of of those brave souls that I can get up every morning, work in a job that I love, get an education and enjoy my life the way so many people in this world just don't get to do.

One thing my trip to Serbia taught me is how grateful I am to live in the United States. There were things about Europe that were fun and enjoyable (the tomatoes are fantastic!) But there are so many other problems they have that we just don't.  Just one example - People complain about the racism in America. Maybe some of that is true - I've never seen it firsthand. But while I was in Serbia, I did see a restaurant owner hit a young Gypsy girl just for coming into the restaurant. I've never seen anything like that happen in the States and it really bothered me. When I landed in the US, I was so happy to be home. We live in a very unique and blessed country and that is due in no small part to the soldiers who have fought and died throughout the years to keep it that way.

To all the veterans out there - it seems like a small tribute compared to what you have done, but thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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