Two holidays. One just past and one coming up.
Last Sunday was Veterans Day, the day we remember and honor those who served their country in the military.
It’s sad that we and other countries need to have military forces. You would hope that through the long march of human history we might have found ways to settle problems without resorting to force. But as we sadly know, this hasn’t been the case.
I have never been in the military. I was of military age during the Vietnam War. As you may know, there was a draft then, but I was given a student deferment and was not taken.
But a grade school classmate of mine was. When I visit the grave of my mother, I also look for the grave of Michael Kurella who is resting nearby. We both were born a few months apart in 1946, but I’m here writing this, and Michael has been at rest since 1969, a victim like so many others, of that tragic episode of our history.
All of my mother’s six brothers were in World War II. They all came back, although my uncle Joe was shot down over the Adriatic Sea and was taken prisoner by the Nazis. He eventually was able to walk away from his captors as they fled the advance of the Soviet troops when the war in Europe was nearing its end.
The son of one of those uncles, Tom Hruskocy, later became the only person from my hometown of Whiting to rise to the rank of general.
I am glad that veterans today are treated so much better than those who came home after serving in Vietnam. Some of my fellow choir members from St. Victor headed out to Applebee’s in Calumet City after Mass because they had free meals for veterans. And later that evening, my wife and I were asked by our hostess at the Lansing Olive Garden if either of us were veterans. They had a menu of free offerings for veterans, too.
I didn’t check, but I’ll bet these weren’t the only places who were doing similar good things for our veterans. A nice gesture.
War is tragic; war is hell. But as the old saying goes ... hate the war, but love and care for the warrior.
Thank you veterans.
The holiday to come is Thanksgiving. Most holidays are about an event, or a person, or a group. Thanksgiving is about a concept; being thankful. That’s something that a lot of us should be more often.
We can even be thankful for our political system,. As disgusting as it can be sometimes (remember all the “pleasant” political ads?) we still make changes without violence.
And this is another day in November that we can be thankful for the men and women who serve in our military.
I also love Thanksgiving because its not so terribly commercialized. Although I’m afraid that the holiday is being co-opted by the Big One — the holiday/Christmas commercial frenzy.
I remember a time when the Friday after Thanksgiving was known as the Friday after Thanksgiving. I liked that.
Anyway, we all have much to be thankful. I am thankful for your reading of my column.
We should find our own ways to express that thankfulness. For many, that means a nod to a higher power. If any of you are looking for a way to express thanks, I invite you to my church, St. Victor, for 9:30 a.m. Mass. It’s a grand celebration with great music and coffee, doughnuts and fellowship after. We are at the corner of Memorial Drive and Hirsch Avenue in Calumet City.
And thanks (there’s that word again) for reading.