Veterans Day technically has nothing to do with Election Day. However, the two are unmistakably intertwined.
One is set aside for us to go to the polls and exercise our Constitutional right to choose our representatives. The other is set aside for us to honor the men and women who, through their service and sacrifice, make all of it possible.
Without one, you wouldn’t have the other.
In 2020, Veterans Day arrives just in time to remind us of what it seems we desperately need to remember: We are all Americans. Despite our differences, this country is ours. It is what we make of it. It can only survive if we want it to … if we allow it to.
America has been no stranger to conflict over the years. Its military has been deployed throughout the world in the name of national security. It has also taken up arms in support of other nations and peoples as they have pursued their own version of democracy and representative republics.
The veterans we honor on Wednesday have served and fought not for the promise of military riches or the glory of the battlefield. They’ve done so because each believed in something greater than themselves, and were willing to give up the creature-comforts of civilian life in order to defend those principles, even if it meant putting their lives on the line.
Few nations in human history have been so blessed to have so many willing to sacrifice in order to stand for self-government and the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
We have just come through a bitter election season, one that did little to mend whatever is broken in our society. As of now, the election appears to have come to an end, although a fight over the ultimate outcome of the Presidential campaign may be brewing.
No one knows where this will lead. If evidence of fraud can be proven, it should be litigated in courts and rulings should be rendered. If proof is presented that shows the outcome of an election — any election at any level — has been influenced by illegal activities, all Americans, no matter their political persuasion, should want that brought to light and the perpetrators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
But if it becomes the norm in American society for defeated candidates and their supporters to simply level baseless accusations of fraud and conspiracy, unwilling to accept defeat and, thus, unwilling to admit to a “fair fight,” then we not only continue to divide our nation, but we also dishonor the veterans who have served, fought, and in some cases died in order to give us the opportunity to live up to the best, not the worst, angels of our nature.
Such a nation, where people insist that only the results they prefer are the legitimate ones — a trend that’s been growing over the last few election cycles — does not live up to the standards set by the best and brightest of us.
So this week, take time to thank anyone who has served. Thank them for their service, for what they’ve been willing to do for our country, and for the freedoms their commitments have guaranteed. And then think about what kind of country we are creating.