I usually take off work for Veterans Day to go deer hunting. Veterans Day is one of those days that some people have off and others do not. Apparently, in the big scheme of things, it is not as important of a holiday as Christmas, New Year’s Day, or one of several other “major” holidays.

To me, Veterans Day is one of the more important holidays. If not for the veterans, we would not have the freedom to celebrate the rest of them. Bow hunting for deer is a very quiet and peaceful activity. There is plenty of time to think.

I think back to the time I was in the service; the things I learned, the things I saw, and the changes it made in my life. I learned that life is fleeting, and a person needs to appreciate each day.

I saw terrible things done to young men, my age, who may or may not have been fighting for a worthy cause. I learned not to believe everything the government tells people, and to not expect other people to accept the choices I made.

World War II was fought for a good reason. There is no doubt, the entire world was being threatened. It was a terrible but necessary thing. When our fighting men came home after winning that war, the ones that lived were welcomed home as conquering heroes. The ones that lost their lives were honored.

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During the Vietnam War, nobody really seemed to understand where the end would be or what was the objective. My generation was the first to fight and lose a war. Many people were opposed to the war, and looking back, they were probably correct in their opposition. Thousands of people died for no good reason. We did not win, and the powers in charge would not let us win.

Getting out of the service in 1972, I found out how much turmoil the country was in. Not only were people against the war, but they were also opposed to anyone that had served.

Going back to college shortly after discharge, if people found out I had been in the service, they did not hesitate to call me a baby killer. I promptly started growing my hair longer, got rid of my military issue shoes, and never spoke to anyone of being in the military.

To this day, there are people I have known for 20 or more years that do not know I was in the service. It became a habit to ignore the fact I was away for four years.

Years pass and memories, both good and bad, fade. We as a nation have fought more wars, both large and small. People have opened their eyes to the fact the people doing the fighting are not the ones making the decisions. If this were the case, many fewer wars would be fought.

The people that must die would find a better way for nations to solve their differences. I think it is great that our heroes are once again welcomed home with the honor they deserve.

Though the holiday is more special to some than others, it would be nice if we would all take time to thank a veteran. We owe them a debt for what they have done for our country. It will mean a lot to many of them.

About five years ago, for the first time, a person said to me, “thank you for your service.” It brought tears to my eyes. For the first time, I felt as though my years in the military were appreciated.

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