Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven Eleven Eleven.

The day is magical! 

Numbers make people wonky, and today is no's all about numbers today. But in the United States, it's also about veterans and the military in general, so here are a few magical things we do every day, including on eleven, eleven, eleven and don't even realize they're manifestations of a singular type of freedom:

1- I'm looking out my window in suburban America and I don't see a military person anywhere. No guns, no patrols. Sure a cop rolls past every once in a while but that reassures me that people are safeguarding my well-being. I feel no threat.

2- I'm drinking coffee, made with potable water that was delivered automatically to my home in clean, safe form. No one is disrupting my service and I trust it will be there whenever I want it, all day every day.

3- My money has relatively stable worth. I know when I take $5 to the store I can buy a certain set of things with that amount. Price fluctuation is rampant in the rest of the world...but not mine.

4- I turned on lights this morning. And last night at 3am. And I'll do it later on today when the sun goes down. I can turn on a light any time I feel like it, because the power lines are up and running and no one's hijacked them.

5- If I decide RIGHT NOW to get in my car, I can drive TWO THOUSAND miles away, still be protected my own government and never have to show ID to pass a checkpoint. I will be protected by the same laws and will speak the same language and use the same currency all along the way.

6- My pal Karen is going to bring me some mail tomorrow. And every day except federal holidays and Sundays. Without fail.  And if I can give her an envelope with a sticker costing only 44 cents on it, she'll make sure it enters a pipeline that will safely deliver it anywhere I want it to go on our continental configuration of states. ANYWHERE! In under 3 days, on average! No one will open my letter and read it, or confiscate it, or in any other way invade the privacy afforded to what I've placed in that envelope.

7- I have more National Parks than I'll ever be able to visit in my lifetime available to me. They're kept clean and safe every day, just in case I decide to go there. 

These are just seven things I can do on any given day, without question or documentation. Are there a plethora of other people involved in all these activities? Yes. Police, municipal workers, teachers, bankers, postal workers, gas station workers, and water technicians. So what does any of this have to do with veterans and the military?

The military, whether on active patrol or training in Texas, are a force in the world's mind. We are safe just by their BEING there. People the globe over know that we are here. That we are mobile in a matter of moments, that we're smart and have practiced plans they've not dreamed of yet. Our borders and ports, coastlines and wilderness are free, safe and secure because the rest of the world leaves us alone. They do this because they know we are mighty, because we've shown them time and again that when it counts, we show up: in force, with uncommon determination and training. 

Our military, and the men and women who support it, is an unbelievable security net. We've sent them all over the world too many times to count on a sunny morning, and I have the ability to decide not to count it because of the blanket of freedom they provide. We are able to do our jobs because they do their job, every minute of every day. 

So thanks, military...past, present, future. I like my kitchen in suburbia. I like my grocery stores and my money, and my letter carrier. I like stores devoted to pet supplies and National Parks at the ready. I like interstate travel and the fact that I can go to the coast and not worry about a pirate ship. 

I appreciate the arms, legs and bits of psyche you've left all over the world. In the mountains, on the beaches, in foxholes and in the forests. There is no amount of gratitude that I can offer that equals the gift of life, of personality, and of body that have been sacrificed all over the planet so that I can sit here and listen to coffee brew, without a care for my personal or political safety. 

But anyway...thanks.

*Post Script: Readers, talk is cheap. DO something for a veteran or active military member or their family, and if you don't know what to do, check out the VA website. Say thanks, fly your flag, greet troops as they come home in the middle of the night, donate $10 for a calling card to send military personnel...there is something we can all do to say thank you.

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