I ran with Mr. R and Mr. J today. Two men. I didn't even know it was Veterans Day today until Mr. R mentioned it. For a brief minute or so during my run, when my thoughts were drifting in and out, I thought about all those people who fought for freedom, who are fighting for freedom, and who will fight for freedom. I dedicate my run today to all the veterans. (And this is the end of the running portion of this post).
And at a more leisurely pace during my hour-long drive to work, I pondered a little more.
I am not an American citizen. To me, really, Veterans Day and Memorial Day kinda mesh together. To me, it is a day to celebrate and honor the brave ones who stood up and serve their country. That, in itself, require some guts.
Singapore was under the Japanese Occupation during WWII. It was 3 years, 8 months of really bad times. Without America and her brave soldiers fighting the fight, who knows what would have happened? In history books, we learned about the chronology of events - what happened, when it happened, who it happened to and who helped, and so on. But who were those people fighting? What happened to them? Reading history books is like reading a fiction book. You know about it, but you don't "feel" it. It's like, "Ok, it happened. What's next?"
I never asked those questions until I came to the U.S. And one day, when I was doing my clinical externship at a VA hospital, I looked at all those old men who are in the "nursing home" wing and it struck. These are the men who fought so my grandparents won't have to live under the Japanese Occupation. These are the men who fought so someone else can keep their family safe, together and free. The moment when I realized that, I found a dry lump in my throat. My eyes might have watered a little. These people are real. The war was real. The fight was real. And these people are real.
I don't know where I am rambling with this. But during this time when politics are crazy, when the world still has hate, when there are other people out there in the world trying to rip your freedom away from you, I can't help feeling a little "something" about freedom and those who serve and fight for freedom.
Some people feel that America should go out to the world to help and save the world. Some people feel that America should just mind its own business and let other people fight their own wars. But, America is actually quite great. The America I know stands up for herself and stands up for what is right. The America I know has men fighting for people who aren't even their own citizens. This is why America is different from XYZ country. Basically, if big s**t happens, America usually steps up to the plate and see what they can do.
If you or a family member is or was a veteran, please accept my humblest of thanks. Thank you for fighting. Thank you for letting your loved ones serve this country and help the other countries around the world. Thank you.
(For a real post about running, check out the next post).