I'm sorry but I have a hard time with Veteran's Day. Especially knowing that we have so many great men and women who put their lives on the line everyday protecting us right here at home and they aren't treated with free dinners and applause when they walk in a room. I'm speaking of our firefighters and local police. It's time Veteran's Day be expanded to honor not only those who have served our country in the military but to also honor those who serve and protect us right here on our doorstep.
There are about 795,000 police officers in the U.S. and it is nearly impossible to get close to accurate numbers for fire departments because 87% are volunteer or mostly volunteer departments, but suffice it to say there are over a million. The U.S. has about 1.5 million active military and about 900,000 in reserves.
In my life have had to attend more than one funeral for police officers and firefighters. As of today in the U.S. there were 90 police officer deaths and 81 firefighter deaths this year. Over the ten year period from 2003-2013 there have been 6,776 members of the U.S. military killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've never been uncomfortable thinking that Memorial Day honored all of those who died "in the line of duty" be it "civilian" or "military." But...
Veteran's Day was and is about service to the Nation involving a commitment that is significantly different than the police or fire services.
When you go into the military they take title to your life. You can't get up in the morning and decide to call your boss and quit your job. And, as has been pointed out here, once you have been in and served your tour, they still can pick up the phone and tell you to stop working at your really good job and go to Afghanistan for a year or two. It is not similar to being a cop or firefighter.
So we say thanks to those who served in the military - even those who were conscripted (a term meaning "compulsory enrollment of persons for military service"). It seems like the least we could do here in a country that essentially has been fighting wars somewhere in the world my entire lifetime, some of which were not well thought out by the politicians who decided to fight them. These are the politicians who we put in office by voting or choosing not to vote and thereby granted them the right to screw with the lives of a couple of million members of the military and their families.
I don't minimize what our emergency responders do, but their employment terms are radically different from those in the military.