Remembering Our Veterans

How do you mark Veterans Day each year?  Do you visit a memorial, attend a parade, volunteer with a veterans group, or maybe visit friends who served?  It seems like Veterans Day is getting a little more love in the last few years, but for a long time it seemed like a rather forgotten holiday for most people.  It was a day off work, and a day for big sales at retail stores, but not much more.

We happened to be in France on May 8th this year, on a holiday called Fête de la Victoire  (Victory in Europe celebration).  We were visiting a basilica in Paray le Monial that morning.  As it turned out, we were right across the street from a memorial celebration.  During the rest of our time in Burgundy we noticed fresh flowers and new flags at veterans memorials in most of the towns we visited.  All of the cathedrals and small village churches also had permanent memorials to the local citizens who died fighting for France in the World Wars.

There is a pervasive sense of history when you are standing by a church that was built in the 12th century, no doubt about it.  But it was more than just the ancient buildings and the memorials.  Taking this day each year to remember our history and those who fought for what they believed in anchors us more firmly into our communities.  However you choose to observe Veterans Day this year, I hope you will take a moment to quietly reflect on how much we all owe to the generations who came before us.  Enjoy your day!

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