Veteran's Day

by Catherine McAuliffe

As a kid, I didn’t have any perspective on what Veteran’s Day was about. I knew that it meant we’d have an assembly in school, there would be a guest speaker and that it was a day to be taken seriously.

In the first few years of high school I had a slightly better sense of it as I started to know people who were joining the military after graduating. I couldn’t fully appreciate the gravity of the situation but I knew that these people who I had seen walking the hallways of school would soon be walking in formation and starting a life that I would never be able to understand.

My entire perspective on Veteran’s Day changed the moment that my brother enlisted in the Marines. I went from thinking about Veteran’s Day once a year to thinking about it, the active military and the retired service members of our country every day of my life. It is a day when we intentionally think about and appreciate the men and women who have served our country over the years.

We take one day to honor the 365 days that members of the military put in for our country year after year.

When I think about how drastically my life changed when my brother joined the Marines, it strikes me as  inadequate that we dedicate one day each year to think about those who have served.

Before my brother was deployed and before he faced any danger in his new job as a Marine, my life was irreversibly changed and –here’s the important part – I wasn’t the one who joined the military. I kept going to school, I still saw my friends every day, I kept living my life while he learned how to live an entirely new one.

I will never be able to understand the sacrifice and determination that goes into living each day as a member of the armed forces. I will always have the perspective of a bystander. But from my perspective, that’s part of the point. I am grateful to have the perspective of a bystander. 

At Northwest Harvest we take pride in the veterans who we serve. We do not collect any demographic information so we do not have any strong data on how many veterans to whom we provide food but we do get to know our clients and we know that there are plenty of veterans who regularly come through our doors. Thanks to a study by the non-profit group “Feed Our Vets” we also understand that there may be nearly three million veterans and their families who do not have enough to eat each month. We are grateful that we get to play a part in helping to reduce that number and only wish that we could do more.

Today we thank all of the veterans in our community and our country. We thank those who continue to serve and those who haven’t yet begun. While we may not fully understand what it means to be a veteran, we do know our thanks extend well beyond today. We are thankful as we stand by you every day of the year.

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