Happy Veterans Day to all who served their country!
While it’s greatly appreciated to partake in the free meals and drinks establishments offer us annually, the real meaning is truly personal.
People serve their nation in the military for a variety of reasons. Some feel a true sense of patriotism and believe they are best suited for military service. Some join because they don’t know what they want to do with their future and the military offers them stability and an opportunity for growth. Some were drafted into service.
Regardless of the reason, the men and women who serve their country are truly appreciated. When you figure a very small percentage of Americans actually serve in the military, it makes it that much more appreciable.
When we travel, one of the things I like to do is to find local veterans memorials. I personally feel the people who have served deserve the recognition.
During our summer trip to the Northlands, we visited the Veteran’s memorial on Mackinac Island, Michigan. In addition, the island is home to a military cemetery for the people who served at Fort Mackinac.
In Milwaukee, Miller brewery has a veteran’s memorial for its employees who have served. The memorial, which shows the symbols of each of the four major military branches – along with an eagle and the American flag – is located in front of the main entrance.
The Wisconsin state capitol building in Madison has a permanent veteran’s memorial in the rotunda. It is one of only four permanent exhibits in the rotunda.
In addition, we have visited veteran’s memorials within the US as well as overseas.
Indianapolis is known as the “Memorial City.” It’s no wonder why. Veteran’s memorials and other war-related memorials abound the city center. From the Civil War to Vietnam, we saw several during our trip there seven years ago. Along its river walk, the city has a memorial to the men who died on the USS Indianapolis during WWII.
Of course, Washington, DC, is home to memorials galore.
We were actually fortunate to visit the World War II memorial in 2003, just days before its official dedication. Lisa’s grandfather served in the US Navy during that war. My father and grandfather each served in the Army during the war.
The Korean War memorial features soldiers walking in muck in inclement weather. My daughters’ grandfather served his country during the conflict.
Two of my brothers, as well as my father-in-law, served during the Vietnam Conflict. The memorial to the veterans of that war is a beautiful structure in DC.
In Pittsburgh, along its riverfront, a Vietnam memorial shows the anguish of war on family.
A short walk later, you can see the Korean memorial.
Overseas, we visited Northern Ireland and Ireland.
In Derry, NI, the city center has a memorial recognizing the country’s soldiers and sailors during World War I.
In nearby Port Stewart, a memorial to its men who have served sits near the water’s edge.
Locally, in Omaha, we honor our veterans with several memorials, as well.
We have a beautifully designed World War II memorial in our Heartland of America riverfront park. It features a combination of people affected by the war. Soldiers, as well as family and friends back home.
As we observe Veterans Day 2013, please remember it’s more than just a free meal somewhere; it’s an observance of the men and women – some who sacrificed their lives – who have put on the uniform and served their country around the world.
Thank you to all who served.