I usually have ESPN on as background noise in the morning, but I turned it off today because their increasingly fulsome tributes to Veterans Day were getting on my nerves. I’m all in favor of honoring the sacrifices made by members of the military, but a little decorum would be nice at the same time.
It occurs to me, though, that what we really need is not yet more extravagant orations of thanks on Veterans Day, but rather a “Pre-Veterans Day.” A day when we think about the men and women of the armed forces before they’ve had to make terrible sacrifices for the country. This would, ideally, include things like making sure that those who are currently in the military have adequate support, but also things like working to provide education and opportunities to poorer communities so people don’t see joining the military as their last, best hope of getting out of dire circumstances, and even international diplomacy to find solutions to our problems that don’t require our soldiers to face injury or death.
Better still would be 364 such days. Because the greatest possible tribute to the sacrifices made in war would be working to make sure there are fewer of them.