As another Veterans’ Day comes to an end, I am grateful for the freedom I have because of the willingness of others to serve. Whether or not it was done for the same reasons I chose to serve is irrelevant to me, but today I realized that society is changing, and the sadness I feel about it in regard to service is something I need to wrap my head around and try to reconcile in my head.
I did not go out of the house today, as I was feeling poorly. I had every intention of going to the Veterans’ Day ceremony put on locally at our Fairgrounds Pavilion.
I did, however, get onto Facebook and was bombarded by Veterans’ Day messages every where. Though it is always nice to know people appreciate military service, I wonder if the meaning behind the words loses something in social media overkill.
I popped into a closed group I am in for veterans and found myself pulled into a discussion thread where the story was of one vet’s coworkers deciding to honor veterans at work. They included a woman as a veteran who had joined, but due to (unknown) circumstances never was allowed to get out of the reception area. The one posing the question was highly offended at this inclusion.
The feeding frenzy began, as I watched the veterans talk of their entitlements, and being offended that someone else would get noticed for something they did not deserve. There are nearly 300 comments on the feed.
They all missed the point.
I tried to put up a comment that would steer the focus elsewhere. I also wrote another post tagging the original post writer, trying to get others to think about the situation a bit differently. It received only a handful of comments and it seems that the post has been removed. The points I made in that post were:
- It is really not about the one coworker who couldn’t make it through and, if we make it about said coworker, then we give her the focus, as well as the energy and emotion to not accept the love, support and honor being given because of our being offended.
- The REAL story here is that the other coworkers wanted to do something for those who served. I think that speaks volumes about the people who love and support. So, if one falls through the cracks and is lauded by those who don’t know better, so be it.
- What matters most is that WE can look in the mirror and know the difference we made without comparing ourselves to those who do not matter in the grand scheme of life. Just like when we were in, we knew who were good leaders and who were not…the title or the rank did not make one a leader.
- Choose not to give energy to someone who needs to include herself …eventually, as we all tell our stories, she will remain quiet because her story is different, and she would be “found out.”
- Ponder this question: Did I serve for the recognition and the freebies it will get me because I am entitled to them? or Did I serve because I have the heart of a servant? Whether or not someone recognizes that (your) service, does not take away what has been (you have) done.
- Become role models, as true leaders, to have others look up to you, even including others (who don’t always “deserve” it). By doing so, we may have an opportunity to understand others, and how we respond to them may be the first time in their lives they have been treated in a way that was different than being ostracized for what they were not. We may have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life because we choose not to dig in our heels to be “right.”
- Whether or not the coworkers included her as they did does not negate the others’ service. They wanted to do something nice for those whom they believe served. May we all be able to receive graciously, rather than be offended by everyone who jumps on the “thank a veteran” bandwagon.
Later in another group, there was another post from a veteran who had mapped out where to receive all the “freebies,” then bragged about how he took a couple of bites and got to-go boxes so that they could “feed the family for free” that night. This particular person also remarked that they did not feel it necessary to leave tips, because of what “was owed” to him for having joined the military.
When did we lose sight of what is truly important in life? Or am I just so old that I have lived beyond my time?
There has been a shift in this world that does not focus on others, but focuses on self. Although I understand a need to care for self, at what point do we need to realize that, if we want this society/world to continue on, we must understand that doing for others (selflessness) is also important? Finding that balance in today’s world is becoming much more difficult.
Thanks to all of you who have served this country in a military uniform. It has made a difference. But, if you do not know the history and what Veterans’ Day truly commemorates, please read about it at the VA website.
We must take care that we do not become the greedy, all-about-me people who allowed their own visions of grandiosity to do the unspeakable.
After all, is that not why so many of the veterans fought and died in the first half of our last century? For freedom from what others were trying to do for their own gain and for their own egos?