We are all in a sense veterans. We’ve been through a lot. We’ve suffered. We’ve grieved. We’ve pounded our chests. We’ve wiped the tears from our eyes. We’ve fallen to our knees in prayer. We’ve all bargained with whatever god or higher power we bow to. We’ve died and/or lie wounded from Covid. Indeed, we’ve lost 760,000 of us to this pandemic and multiply that many more times when you figure friends, relatives, colleagues who have been traumatically affected by those deaths and long-Covid recoveries. And we’re not out of the woods yet from this lethal virus.
During the draft in the Vietnam War years, I was turned down twice for medical reasons–reasons which still affect me in my older age. Am I not still a veteran, a patriot? Subsequently, I devoted my career to helping those with mental illness, along with drug and alcohol addictions, live better lives. Many others may not have served in the military but serve in so many other ways as we have seen during this pandemic. Are they not veterans and patriots? Why must we limit Veterans Day to those who took up arms to support our country? Are not nurses who save lives in hospitals (as they did with me) loyal veterans who serve our country? Why are we not honoring them as well?
I know some will say, Well, they didn’t put their lives on the line to serve. But don’t nurses and doctors and EMTs and police and fire fighters and counselors and any service provider put their lives on the line daily to help others live safe, active, more productive lives? Where is the day to honor them? Of course, we need to honor our military veterans, but let us also honor those who selflessly serve this great country, made great by our multitude of people servants.
I also wish to call for a change to our National Anthem to America, The Beautiful, an ode to all that is good with our country, replacing The Star Spangled Banner, a hard-to-sing ode to a flag which now some so-called patriots desecrate in the exhaust fumes of their pickup trucks.
With holidays approaching, may I recommend three of my recent books published by Sacajawea Press. They are:
Into the Woods…and Beyond. A memoir of my living alone in the woods for nearly four years, developing a deep connection with nature which I took back with me when I returned to city life.
The Valley Spirit: Living a Tao-inspired Life. A guide based on my teaching of Tai Chi and applying Taoism and Buddhism to everyday life.
Golf 360: For Current Players and Those Considering the Game. Instruction. Strategy. The Mental Game. And more, in helping you improve your play, and/or getting off to a good start if you’re just beginning.
All are available at Amazon at reasonable prices in ebook or paperback.
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