To the many family members, friends, teachers, neighbors, coworkers and acquaintances who have not only served our country but have also given of themselves to protect their various home nations, I thank you. While some of you are no longer with us and many of you bare the scars both physically and mentally of the battles you fought, your service and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.
Veterans' Day might be a convenient time to vocalize that gratitude, but I often have the opportunity to reflect upon why I have so much respect and admiration for veterans. Not only are many of the people I interact with on a daily basis both veterans and active members of the military, but I also see the WWII Memorial, the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, the Marine Corps Memorial and the Navy Archives practically every day as physical reminders of service men and women. Because of the historic area I live in, I drive past battlefields and along military access roads, and I live directly along the Pentagon's flightpath. These are all constant reminders that though we do not have a current war on American soil, this nation was built upon the land where battles took place and the lessons learned--both good and bad--from those battles.
Today I am also grateful for the many books that have helped me understand war. I have never served in the military, nor have I ever seen the devastation caused by war, so books help me understand and connect with something that is so foreign to me. Kathy Erskine posted a wonderful list of books about war this morning, but I'd like to add a few of my own about coming home from war.
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
I'll Be Watching by Pamela Porter
All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Operation Oleander by Valerie O. Patterson