Getting close to Veteran's Day, or Armistice Day (which I always thought veterans of that war really appreciated). Time to get specials for being there when the really smart powerful people didn't want to go, go get those specials.
I like the veterans I knew, they are all giants in my life. Lots of them from the Bible, many from mythology, bunches and bunches from History of everyone everywhere. While studying the Greek and Roman military I constantly noticed that the veterans were the backbone of the formations, were always the carbon in the steel, that make it tough and able to hold an edge... I was sure that Horatio at the bridge was my kind of guy, and Horatio Hornblower must have been a real sailor... yeah, those are people I think of as veterans.
I was lucky, didn't have to wait for Veteran's Day parades or sales to reach out and find a vet, I had the very best kind - a quiet humble man I knew as Dad. His parting comment as I left for my own military service "You aren't going to like it." . Having permitted (like I could change anything) my own son's enlistment and his service - I hope all the veterans know the love of all those they served, protected and have left behind while they did their duty. I hope all veterans know the day when they can just be quietly thankful for having survived and gotten on with the real joy of living, being in love and creating and growing a better world that they knew was out there on the other side of war. Oh, how I pray that the day comes when they step out into the light for they have had all the darkness they couldn't sleep through, and they shouldn't drag it into their dreams or allow it to weigh them down.
Yeah, I can't know what any veteran went through, but do know 'they didn't like it'. Sure they had the days, hours, minutes and seconds of pride in surviving something terrible, and the shame of not being able to save everyone, people they had come to love... but they are scar bearing, tarnished, dinged, worn and tattered.
Give them your thanks, say lots of prayers for them and their healing, and always know that only love will make it better.