TNB Night Owl – Veteran’s Day 2021

Soldiers of the 172nd Infantry (United States Army) slowly ford a stream through jungle terrain at Munda Point, New Georgia Island, July, 1943. Public domain.

War stories – true accounts of Americans who served in the armed forces – have been featured here at TNB from time to time. Why do we enjoy these articles? Possibly it’s because these men and women demonstrated that they possessed courage, perseverance, and tenacity when it was needed most. It’s not about showering the hero of the story with glory. There is absolutely nothing glorious about war. Even if serving in the military during peacetime, there’s not much glorious about it. Take a look at these synonyms for ‘glorious’;

august, celebrated, delightful, distinguished, effulgent, elevated, eminent, esteemed, exalted, excellent, famed, fine, gratifying, heavenly, honored, illustrious, immortal, magnificent, majestic, marvelous, memorable, noble, notable, noted, pleasurable, preeminent, radiant, remarkable, renowned, resplendent, shining, splendid, sublime, superb, time-honored, triumphant, venerable, well-known, wonderful.

There aren’t many words here that a veteran would use to describe their time in the service. Memorable – probably, but not always in a good way. Noble – yes, if one is describing someone who served faithfully, honorably, and selflessly. While what most veteran’s experienced in the military wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t all good either. Just about everyone (and likely more than once) felt an intense desire to be someplace else, preferably home, instead of suffering the discomfort, pain, or terror of whatever crappy situation they were experiencing at the time.

That’s not to say that being in the military is all negative. Most veterans gained something positive out of their time in service, although what those positives are will vary from one vet to the next. They might have gained self-discipline, or a structured and stable environment in their lives for the first time ever, or maturity, or some other measure of personal growth. For others, it might have been a dependable income, attaining skills and vocational training, or a chance at a college education. Serving in the military is about life, the good and the bad. Many find out what life is all about while in the service. A few never learn anything, but they probably wouldn’t have learned anything if they’d remained civilians, either. Many people find success and achievement in the armed forces, and that’s something to be proud of.

There is one other word on that list of synonyms for ‘glorious’ that applies to veterans: honored. We honor veterans not because their time in service was glorious, but rather because it was just about anything but glorious. They stood up, left home, and served us all in good times, bad times, and even crappy times. We honor veterans for their courage, perseverance, and tenacity in the face of difficult circumstances. And we welcome them home, back into civilian life.

Thank you for your faithful service, veteran.

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.