The Meaning of Veterans Day

A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman John Lemondes (R,C,I-Lafayette)

I think if you speak to any veteran, particularly those who served in the last 20 years, they tend to be uneasy about being thanked for their service, or recognized for their time in the military. For a lot those who served, it was a job much like any other; one that had to be done, one that you just got on with. I think that’s a completely valid takeaway for veterans to have. Servicemen and women are, in the end, are our friends, family and neighbors. Nonetheless, these holidays, in my view, are meant more for the general public to step up and recognize what’s been given to THEM.

Each veteran is always going to take it differently, and especially as we come out of a twenty-year war on terror, on the heels of the unspoken treachery of President Biden’s abandonment of Americans via his withdrawal from Afghanistan. I think it’s important to discuss why the day shouldn’t be recognized with a simple ‘thank you for your service’ message on Facebook and then forgotten about afterwards.Veteran’s Day really isn’t about having a day off from work or taking advantage of department store discounts. It is much more than that.

I was incredibly fortunate to serve as an officer in the War on Terror and come out the other side unscathed, with a loving family to return home to. But a lot of kids didn’t have that experience. They might’ve lost friends while they served. They might have lost body parts. They might have come back with incredible trauma they couldn’t even know how to begin to process. The war in the Middle East was absolute hell, and each soldier gave it their all in the fight, but that fight took a lot out of each and every one of us, in various different ways.

Days like Veterans Day are for the general public to recognize that there’s a lot of sacrifice that went into making sure our lives here are comfortable and safe. Since being elected, I’ve been encouraged to take it a step further and ensure that days like these remind us of who truly needs our support – politically, financially, socially – and where we still have a long way to go to make it right for these guys. So enjoy Veterans Day. If you have the day off from work or school, enjoy it even more. But remember that it’s not just a day that comes with discounts at stores or a reason to sleep in. It’s to remind the public that has not served that they have neighbors that did, and recognize the sacrifice that came with it.