Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pausing to Remember This Veterans Day

Known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, in America -- in towns and cities small and large -- we take a few moments this Thursday, on Veterans Day, to remember those who have served this land.

Events and gatherings, in fact, have already been in full swing since at least this past weekend, when I snapped the above series of photos in little Utica, Ill., population: 1000. Preparing for what is hailed as the largest such parade in the state, store windows held the usual wares alongside images of local heroes whose service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

It was a very moving display.

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to visit -- for the first time -- the magnificent World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as return to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial once more. No matter how many times I stand in the Wall's wake, I'm revisted by quiet tears.

My husband and I were joined by our nephew (on his first visit to the Capitol) and we spent some time reflecting on the service and sacrifice of our service members, and the difficult times and trials of our military families over the years.

Sometimes it can seem almost dispiriting to think about all of the losses people have endured in the cause of war. We all yearn for peace; yet, no matter how many souls each generation offers in that vein, we never seem to be able to staunch the blood loss.

While I don't have any idea how or if we'll ever resolve such an evergreen condition of human nature and experience, I do know that it makes me feel better to stand with others to remember those who gave their very lives in a valiant attempt to forge a better world for those left behind -- even if what they yearned for is not yet fully realized.

This year, I'm looking forward to once more attending NIU's annual Veterans Day ceremony. [I'd also like to extend my oh-so-thrilled-for-you congratulations to everyone at Northern, which recently received the the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Veterans Education. The recognition is well-deserved.]

Wherever your day takes you, please pause and remember those who have devoted a portion -- or even all -- of their lives to answer the nation's call. And moving beyond this day, it is my wish that we might also strive to be better to one another in honor of those sacrifices.

In extended, news clips in keeping with the day.

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