Veterans Day is about all who served, so treasure their memories

November 8, 2020

Sometimes you come upon a lucky day. It has nothing to do with high tech, which is prevalent today, nor does it often involve self-gain. You won’t have to search for it, either. It is just there to jolt you back into that warm memorable feeling from another time.

For me it was about a worn-out wooden drawer. You know, the kind that is so warped from disuse that you have to jiggle it a little bit to pull it open. People come and go without giving the table and its special drawer a second glance. It usually is hidden behind boxes of junk in the attic or garage. It’s collected dust over time, and you know someday you’ll get to it.

When that lucky day came and I first opened the old wooden drawer, I had no idea it would connect with an iconic holiday. Next week is Veterans Day. It honors all those men and women who served their country in the armed forces. At first it was known as Armistice Day at the conclusion of World War I. And it was remembered as the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. 

Many of us have forgotten the bravery and hardship that marked those who served their country in the name of freedom. Sometimes, citizens confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, which honors those who died in their service to their country. But at some point, it was realized that all those who served in the armed forces should also be honored for doing their duty.

From the old wooden drawer, a thin, frayed piece of paper floated out and softly landed on the floor. It was faded to the point that I almost missed the small figure of a cartoon sketched at the bottom. The cartoon looked like Snoopy and it had a balloon over its head that said, “I’m on my way home. See you soon.” I realized that this was the last piece of mail sent by my husband when he was returning to the States after a year in Vietnam. What a lucky treasure that old wooden drawer held for me all those years.

I poked around some more and pulled out another tattered item. It was a Happy Mother’s Day greeting scribbled on a random scrap of paper. The greeting was from my son when he was serving in Iraq. 

It’s not that you take these mementos lightly, but some days you do have a kind of luck that will part the clouds and let the sun in. What a treasured day for me as a wife, mother and citizen of this great country, with its gift of freedom. My treasures are now framed and hang proudly on a wall.

So, it’s important to remember with a silent pause on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. I like to think of this piece, sometimes attributed to U.S. Army veteran Charles M. Province:

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press; It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech; It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate; It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial ...”

Amidst turmoil and stress, we can look to that lucky day. Whether you agree or disagree with the sentiment, your voice will be heard.





  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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