Editorial: Measuring a vet’s service

Published 10:32 pm Monday, November 8, 2010

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010

For the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, there are several ways in which to measure their service.

It can be measured in the days. From that very first day of enlistment to the day they step off the battlefield, walk away from the hangar or hop off the boat.

It can be measured in the battles, in which those who face the kind of fear so many of us would never dare to face, time and time again stepped up to the front lines, flew over enemy territory or navigated dangerous waters.

It can be measured in how many hours, minutes and seconds are being counted before they get to come home from their current tours abroad.

The birthdays they’ve missed, serving their country while separated from their families.

The scars they’ve returned home with, the nightmares that keep them from sleeping, the friends who didn’t come back with them.

There are plenty of ways in which to measure the service of our veterans. This week, the nation will recognize that service in a matter of 24 hours. One special day set aside for a lifetime of service.

Through sacrifices that fit no scale, no manner of measure.

While it is important to honor our veterans each Veterans Day, it is also important we keep their stories alive and their lives honored every day.

For those of us who are honored to have family members or friends serving in the military, it’s important to ask those veterans to share their stories, record them if possible — before they become an unretrievable part of our history. It’s important to learn the lessons that come from those soldiers, should we ever be parents, husbands, wives or friends of those soldiers of the future.

In our community and in neighborhoods all across the country, there are veterans being cared for in nursing home facilities who may not have the benefit of a curious ear to hear them tell their tales. A quick call and a short visit is all it takes to reiterate the honor they have earned for fighting for our country.

Local organizations such as American Legion and VFW posts can help with providing information about ways for we civilians to give back, be it monetarily or by a service of our own.

This week, one day will be set aside to honor those who have fought and sacrificed for this country. But we can show those men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces how they measure up by honoring them every day after.