**This post is very different from most of my others. There is a soap box involved. It might have a significant impact on you. It might make you uncomfortable. I welcome feedback and comments. My intent is motivation and gratitude and the promotion of positive change.**
On November 11, 1918 at 11:00 am, World War I ended on the Western Front. The day came to be known as Armistice Day, a remembrance day for those who served in World War I.
An act approved in 1938 declared the holiday "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace". In the United States, this holiday is now known as Veterans Day, a day to honor Veterans from all wars.
November 11 is my birthday. I do not think it is a coincidence.
I have long been motivated to promote peace. I have a Masters in History through which I learned about peace and conflict, particularly in the way that war affects the home front. I quickly learned that historical events are not straightforward. They are complicated and messy and the only way to understand what really happened is to get many, many perspectives. This is true for current events, too.
I have learned that the best way to get people to engage with an issue is to make it relevant to them. Historical controversial topics must be presented to the public in a way that opens a dialogue rather than shuts people down. This is true for current controversial topics, like the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our military personnel sacrifice so much. Whether you approve of the wars or not, it is important to acknowledge these sacrifices. It is also important that we understand that their sacrifices are not over if they are lucky enough to return home.
You have heard the stories about PTSD. You have read about the soldiers who attack their own. They have been trained not to ask for help or acknowledge that they need it.
We must do more to help our Veterans transition back to civilian life. We must demand more attention to this transition from our government, from the military, and from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Silence in the name of morale is not justified.
Each and every soldier deserves to have a chance to lead as normal a life as possible when their service is done. Too many of them are not truly given this chance. They suffer. Their families and friends suffer. Our society suffers.
What can you do to help? Start talking about it. Start asking questions. Start making requests. Show your support beyond acknowledging a national holiday. Take the self-help strategies you so wonderfully share with your readers and find a way to address this need.
Humanity comes first. What role will you play in the cause of world peace? That is the best form of thanks we can give.
Thank you to our Veterans and military personnel.
Thank you to the parents, spouses, and children of our Veterans and military personnel.
Thank you to the friends, caregivers, volunteers, and government employees who support our Veterans and military personnel.
Special thanks to suZen at Erasing the Bored for a conversation that inspired me to share my thoughts with all of you.
**Update: I just found out about Bloggers Unite and their Veterans Day: Who Will Stand campaign. If you're interested in reading what other bloggers are writing about the holiday and about supporting our Veterans, check it out here.**