Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Just Another Day

It's Wednesday, one of seven days in the week sometimes called hump day by those who feel the need to label things. There are 51 days left in 2010 or for you retailers 23 days until Hanukkah and 44 until Christmas.
Time marches on relentlessly toward the future until it becomes the present and then the past making each day but a footnote in the annals of history.
But there are some days that should be remembered and noted and perhaps even celebrated.  One such day shows up tomorrow, Veteran's Day.
There will be parades and the obligatory politician marching in them, waving to the crowds and saying just the right words tailored for the occasion and written by just the right speech writer.
A couple of these men and women may have actually been in the Armed Forces but not many. Most will have been able to get out of serving their country for various reasons or for various amounts of money but all will pour praise over the brave men and women who felt the need to serve.
And they deserve that praise, not just tomorrow but all year.  And while speeches and parades are nice ways to show our appreciation it is more important that we never forget them.
How many of you know the following?

According to VA documents obtained exclusively by Veterans for Common Sense under the Freedom of Information Act, VA has treated one million new veteran patients who deployed to the Gulf War - the period of war that began August 2, 1990 and continues through the present in Iraq and Afghanistan.  297,000 deployed Gulf War veteran patients, 1990 - 1991
108,000 deployed Gulf War veteran patients, 1992 - 2002
594,000 deployed Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran patients, 2001 - present
The number of new, first-time patients from these two wars treated by VA rises 10,000 per month.

So what can one person do?
Sol @ 92½
My dad's name is Sol and he is nearing his 93rd birthday.
He served in the Navy and was stationed in the Pacific during WWII.  He has never forgotten that time or the brave people who fought alongside him.
Every Wednesday for the past umpteen years, health permitting my dad has driven to the St. Albans Community Living Center, a hospital operated by the Veteran's Administration. He volunteers his time to talk with the wounded veterans and take them down for services should they wish, or lunch or basically just be there for them.
In the past he would pick up one of his friends and drive over to a local supermarket for bananas and such to distribute among the patients.  Unfortunately his friend recently passed away and he no longer has anyone to sit in the car while he shops so he now drives straight to the center without groceries.
But he still goes and brings cheer and support every week nevertheless.
My dad is there as I write this and I am sure the lives he is quietly touching are all the happier that he is.
Throughout my life with my dad whenever it was his birthday, especially a special one we celebrated it as a family.  But he would always say, "It's just a number, just another day."
However when he turned 90 those of us who love him and are thrilled to still have him with us threw him a nice party, photos of which still appear on the right side of this blog.  And naturally we are hoping for many more numbers to come.
I do not know the men and women he will be visiting today or exactly what he will be doing or saying to them when he does.  He may not even know them, but I'm guessing they won't think today is just another day!
Oh no!  Today is the day Sol visits.
So tomorrow may be just another day to most but not to those who served and fought for America.  We must thank those who are still with us and the families of those who are not.
And to all the Sols of the world I say thank you and I salute you!

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