Veteran’s Day and the long shadows of November

Today is Veteran’s Day.

It is a holiday for state employees like me. I spent the afternoon getting a manicure, pedicure, and shopping.

I love tradition and I have tried to create and honor many for my family. I have two granddaughters, ten and five. Every Thanksgiving I give them a Christmas outfit. It’s something they might wear to a special event in December, to get their pictures made with Santa, or just to one of their many family gatherings. They have a large extended family.

Today I bought the older girl’s dress. I already had something for the little one. But Thanksgiving is coming soon, and they’ll be expecting their outfits.

Last night I gathered with several hundred parents and grandparents at our community’s performing arts centre to hear the girls sing in their annual fall Veteran’s Day program. The program was unorganized and a bit of a hot mess, but the children were adorable. And that’s what it is all about.

The school mascot is the Tigers, so the last number included all the children, grades K-5, on the stage at the same time singing their hearts out to “The Eye of the Tiger.”  “You’re gonna hear me ro-ar, you’re gonna hear me roar!” You could see the “pride” in the children.  It was absolutely darling. It filled my own chest with pride, just imaging what these two beautiful girls are going to be, really WHO they are going to be.

I watched my girls sing and roar with such energy, their faces were flushed with happiness, joy and youth.  My eyes fill with tears as I write about it now. What potential shook that stage. It is simply amazing to think what these little ones might accomplish together and individually.

As I drove home from my shopping trip this afternoon, it was just about the time of evening when the sun sets. But not quite. The shadows are long and the sunshine leaves a golden hue on everything. I love November at this particular moment of the day.

One Thanksgiving I travelled to Washington, D.C. On the Friday following Thanksgiving, at just this time of day, I was across the Potomac River on a hill that is Arlington National cemetery.  It was between 5 and 6 pm  in the evening. I was with a friend. We hadn’t planned our day to end our day in the cemetery.  It was just one of those magical, mystic moments that happens when you don’t over plan things.

We were there on the hill on the chilly November afternoon. The shadows were long and it was quiet and reverent. It was time to take down the flag, and we heard taps ring out across the graves.  Standing there listening to the bugle, looking out across the thousands of white markers, and seeing our country’s Capitol across the river was a very hallowing experience for me. I shall never forget it, or how my senses were filled that afternoon.

We have so many Veterans to whom to be grateful that we live our happy, free lives. We are a nation filled with tradition, holidays, music, love, laughter, and countless opportunities because generation after generation after generation of men and women serve their country in the armed forces. Let us never forget their bravery, sacrifices, courage, fortitude, and honor with which they serve us.  God bless our Vets and God bless the United States of America!

You’re gonna hear us ro-ar!



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