Today is the official observation of Veteran's Day. In this time of war, Veteran's Day should - and does - mean more than a sale on cars and mattresses.
There have been many eloquent and poignant words of thanks spoken for our men and women protecting our way of life. I have no such eloquence to offer.
On Friday, I received an American flag from the local newspaper distributor. It was part of their "Welcome to the neighborhood / Subscribe to our newspaper" direct response package. I don't know what to do with it. The cynical part of me - the same part that sees someone wearing a cross around their neck and earmarks them for a bible-thumping, right-wing nutjob - wants me to run far, far away from the colors that don't run. The other part of me wants to fly it proudly, thankful for the truths this country stands (stood?) for.
And so, on this Veteran's Day, I find myself conflicted. How do I feel about America? I am proud that I can evaluate candidates and determine who to vote for without being under marshal law. I am sad that we are still involved in an occupation that isn't helping us, the country we're occupying, or anyone in between. I am proud that I can march on our nation's capital and sad that so few do.
So, my hesitant conclusion is that, although I might just pretend to be Canadian (or say "Scooby Doo!") when abroad, I know that I truly love this country and the ideals it stands for.
Thus, to all our men and women who "stand on a wall and tell us nothing bad's gonna happen tonight, not on our watch," ... I say Thank You.
And, to one special Army National Guardsman, I say a special thanks. You know why.