"Veterans Day is a day every American should devote to remembering those who have dedicated their lives to keeping our country and way of life safe. We should remember those brave souls who have fallen as well as those who survived. We should honor those who answered the call without hesitation. It is a day to honor and salute every serviceman and woman of our armed forces. Where would we truly be without them? It is a day to say THANK YOU."
There were several people I knew who were part of our armed forces - uncles in particular - who did fight overseas in Vietnam and Korea. My former neighbor's nephew suffered for many years with PTSD after his service in Vietnam. None liked to talk about their experiences and all were grateful to have survived.
When I was looking into the possibility of creating greeting cards using my photographs, my first inspiration came from a gym teacher who worked in a school I was in for a short time. He was rather upset that school would be in session with nothing being planned to truly remember the meaning of the day - no lessons or activities regarding Veterans Day. He was sad and rightfully so. It was going to be "business as usual". I talked to him in the hallway and he told me his feelings expressing extreme disappointment - and not that he wanted a pat on the back, he was sad that he had done two tours in Afghanistan surviving his time there, doing his duty and would do it again if he had to, knew of people who died fighting in our armed forces and not a single thing was going to be done to truly recognize the holiday as a day to salute those who protect our country. His concerns broke my heart for not once did anyone, upon his return, ask him how he was or if he was alright - and certainly not even a thank you was given. He was just expected to return to his job and carry on - business as usual. I ended up creating my first greeting card - a special thank you - with him in mind. When I created that card, I was no longer working at that school and I am upset with myself that I didn't get to know him better let alone even see if he was still working there after the time that passed since my term ended and I submitted the card for approval and eventual acceptance. I wish he could know this design was directly inspired and dedicated to him.
The companion of my dearest friend is a retired Marine medic. Last year, I sent him a card of thanks honoring him for his service. I remember being told of how touched he was. To me, it didn't matter if he wasn't on the front lines - he very well could have been. And even then, it was his job to help the wounded who were in battle.
To that gym teacher, I thank you - and to all American soldiers no matter their rank or position - I salute and thank every one of you.
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