If you are alive and breathing today, you probably know that today is Veteran’s Day; set aside to honor all those who have served in the military in America.
It is also the anniversary of the official end to World War I at the 11th hour, 11th day on the 11th month. This day is not to be confused with the annual Memorial Day that recognizes those who lost their lives in the various wars. The holiday was originally observed as Armistice Day but was changed to Veteran’s Day in 1954.
At one time, it was also called, “Poppy Day” where veterans would stand on the street corners in Atlanta and other places to sell little poppy flowers made from crepe paper with a little white tag. The proceeds from the sale of these little flowers were to remind Americans of the many who lost their lives in the “Poppy Fields” in Europe. These were made by veterans and were sold to help pay for their care and treatment.
Wikipedia: “The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields.” These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I; their brilliant red color became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.”
The headline might be a little shocking even for today’s mixed cultures and feelings about wars, but this author woke this morning thinking about all of those who went to war and/or served this nation. She thought how much they had to “suck up” things. When I was growing up and was being admonished for some wrong deed, I would begin to snivel and pout and my folks would say, “You’d better “suck it up!” I knew immediately that I had to stop crying.
We like to think of our soldiers as being tough, rough, and ready to endure and face all things. They did and they do. But we often forget what they “suck up’ in the performance of their duties and how human they are in their feelings and emotions.
Most all soldiers in every war started out as “wet behind the ears” young people who had never been away from home. They had to “suck it up” at the bus station, train station, or airport while saying good-bye to their family and loved ones. That would be their first act of bravery.
Then the real “sucking up” began in boot camp with someone in your face all day long, And there were those long hard training sessions that would nearly “suck” the life out of them. While some thought of it as getting your “nerve up” to jump from a high platform; the real “sucking up” came when you had to jump from a flying airplane.
And according to my Dad, who was drafted in World War II, said it was all that they could do was to “suck up” those terrible tasting meals. And then in the quiet hours of solace, they had to “suck up” the loneliness and sadness of being away from loved ones every day; but also on those special days that would be celebrated without them; holidays, birthdays, weddings, funerals, and even the births of their children.
Many soldiers had to “suck it up” when they received a “Dear John” letter. But the hardest had to be when they had to “suck up” the news that someone back home had died and they knew they could not be there to say their last good-byes.
Then the day came when they had to do the most “sucking up” of all; the day when they faced uncertainty in an approaching battle. They had to “suck in” all of their emotions and put them aside in order to face the foe. The day they had to kill or be killed.
Then there were many who came home after Viet Nam who did not meet a hero’s homecoming, but were spit on and cursed and called names. They had to “suck that up as well!”
For some, the horror of war will remain with them forever as they came home as a “wounded warrior!” A new and different life had to be “sucked up” to learn to live with what they could not change both physical and mental.
And this article would not be complete without recognizing all the loved ones who had to do a lot of “sucking up” as well; wives and children left behind leaving the cemetery when their soldier was laid to rest.
Then there were families left for long periods of time not knowing the fate of their loved ones but having to “suck it up” back here at home. Those children, spouses, and parents had to “suck it up” while waiting for their soldiers to fight for the freedom and righteousness of our nation.
So I guess it is only fitting that this author, “sucks it up” and stops the flowing tears for those who did not come home and for those who came back home but changed forever. Also, it is time Americans begin to ‘suck it up’ and support the families who gave their most precious loved one in this world – their soldier.
And it is time for Americans to “suck it out” of their wallets and write a check for the “Wounded Warriors Project.” “ Be brave and daring and “suck it up” and forgo that expensive cup of coffee, that movie, or that new doodad and send a check, no matter how small, to help our wounded warriors to continue “sucking it up.”
On this day, forget about all the mattress sales at the retail stores and all the other things that have desecrated this day of remembrance and contact a soldier who “sucked it up” for America and tell them how much you appreciate their service AND sacrifice…they sure did have to do a lot of “sucking up” for our nation.
Ancestry.com is offering free “look-ups” for those who served in the military. Look up – “Going to war was their duty – telling their stories is yours!”
Thank You, God, for all the soldiers who ever “sucked it up” and fought for this nation that we have taken so for granted…Help each of us to “suck it up” a little to make a difference in our own small ways for our country. Amen