Does it seem like that we heard more about Veterans Day today than we have in a long time? This isn't just a case of the usual TV pictures of ceremonies involving men and women in uniform, which come every Nov. 11.
Every sporting event this week has taken time out to honor veterans. ESPN set up shop at West Point today. Applebee's gave away meals to service personnel. A local barber gave out free haircuts to military members. My Facebook page is filled with tributes.
All well and good. But I think there's something else at work here, and it's something good. My guess is, we've learned something.
One of the few good things about getting older is that you have a personal memory for history. I am old enough to remember our involvement in Vietnam in the 1960's and early 1970's, a military action that dragged on indefinitely with no end in sight. Let me know if this sounds familiar.
How did Americans react to that? By protesting in the streets in some cases, and I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more of that in the last few years. (I talked to an Army vet who served in the Sixties about this, and he absolutely agreed with me.) There was a lot of anger back then, though, and some of it was directed at the people doing the actual work in Vietnam. As a result, we forgot about Vietnam veterans for too long a time. They didn't get enough "thank yous" for their thankless work, let alone parades and recognition.
This time around, there are a lot more "thank yous." You can argue about past and present policy decisions by the commanders, but you can't argue with the fact that today's military members are volunteering for jobs that the rest of us are less than anxious to do.
You're never too old to learn something. Consider this one more salute to those who deserve one.