The engine on my train yesterday morning was so loud that it hurt my ears. After a few minutes of complaining to myself, I remembered that it was Veteran’s Day. I realized that I was very fortunate to be bothered by a engine whine, as I thought about the sounds endured by warriors.
In Sri Lanka, I heard a jungle at night; I can’t imagine that experience coupled with quiet footsteps and stealth gun cocks. How loud was Normandy? How many times could I stand to hear a bullet fly by me and hit someone? What’s it like in a silent, sea-buried submarine? I wonder what my dad heard (and thought) as he loaded bombs onto planes, headed for Dresden.
What did my loved ones experience in Vietnam? How did they do it? How do you get yourself up and out onto the beach at Normandy? How do kids decide to go to Afghanistan?
How do soldiers jump out of helicopters into the crazy froth of an ocean?
I can’t even begin to imagine, but I know one thing for sure:
People jumped out of planes into enemy territory to fight for my right to do whatever I want, and I still let fear stop me. I won’t learn about bravery until I jump, because action is the cause, not the result of courage.
I can’t adequately thank even a single veteran, but I can attempt to imitate their bravery in my own meager way; I can do at least one thing today, that I am really afraid to do.
We can hold hands, but let’s jump already.
Let freedom ring loudly enough to remind us.
At the very, very, very least, we owe the people who hear lifelong echoes of war our lives, fully lived.
Thank you so much for reading, and thank you, Veterans, for demonstrating and inspiring bravery.