Murphy’s law being what it is, whether you’re talking about a surprise party, a romantic getaway or visiting an acquaintance in the hospital, good intentions don’t always pan out.
The same goes for the intention to carry out a proper observation of Veterans Day.
Sometimes work/family obligations, ill health or inclement weather stand in the way of attending a public ceremony honoring our nation’s veterans. “Maybe next year” is the lament of too many of us.
Imagine my delight when a Google search revealed “Suggested Speech for Veterans Day 2022” from the American Legion. (I did not find a corresponding speech from the VFW, but I want to tip my hat to that organization as well.)
The downloadable speech can be found at: legion.org/publications/257163/veterans-day-speech-2022.
My mention of this speech is not at all intended to offer it as a get-out-of-jail-free card for skipping public commemorations and melding with your recliner. But it is invaluable as a substitute for those who truly can’t participate. It is also a supplement and keepsake for those who do manage to attend a parade or other ceremony.
Perhaps the unassuming title of the document flies under your radar, but I am struck by the term “suggested.”
The speech is a template, a guideline, a resource for the dignitaries directing local commemorations across the country. Thanks to the men and women defending our shores and airspace, this republic has stood for nearly 250 years. We do not have some conquering foreign tyrant dictating the contents of public communications or enforcing mandatory attendance at “pep rallies.”
Besides telling about the military and post-military contributions of our veterans, the speech advocates for the hiring of veterans, calls attention to the plight of homeless vets and publicizes the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (9-8-8, extension 1 for veterans).
I hope the speech will be widely heard and circulated, to stir up our appreciation of veterans.
Sure, society still gives a nod to the dwindling members of the Greatest Generation who fought in World War II and Korea. We have learned to exhibit a certain degree of respect for the draftees who were trapped in the quagmire of the Vietnam War. But sometimes it seems that the advent of the all-volunteer military has made us more complacent.
“Hey, they knew what they were signing up for” is the attitude of many who think that our national security comes from pixie dust.
But do any of us ever know exactly what we’re getting into? Referring back to good intentions, no marriage, no job, no infrastructure project ever turns out exactly like we expected.
We complain about politicians lying, but to a considerable extent, they are genuinely flummoxed when they get elected and their sincere (naive) promises prove to be impossible to implement.
No matter how brave, athletic and resourceful an enlistee is, the military is an unenviable challenge.
Regulations, culture clashes, inhospitable climates, separation from loved ones and physical danger all make honorable military service something worth celebrating.
Those who speak dismissively of our veterans are guilty of a dishonorable discharge from their mouths.
Try your best to mark Veterans Day by thanking a vet one-on-one and/or attending a community ceremony.
But download the speech as well. And pass a copy along to everyone whom you think could benefit from its inspirational message.
Turn “good intentions” into “mission accomplished.”