November is a month that is geared towards gratitude. Two of my favorite holidays happen during this month- Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is obvious, and it is well shared about. Veterans Day, on the other hand, seems to be a day that is given very little attention.
In the morning on holidays like Veteran’s Day there will be a multitude of sharings on social media, thanking our military members for their service. This is wonderful and at the same time it often seems like an afterthought. A quick nod for the day you got to take off of work perhaps.
But Veteran’s Day is a day of true appreciation. After several years of working with military members and their families, I have a much deeper understanding of how important this day is. The sacrifices that our military members make whether they are sent off to a war zone or work a desk job on a local base are deeper than most of us know.
Veterans Day celebrates our military members and coincides with Armistice Day- “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace” – President Woodrow Wilson.
To me, this is a day to celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy every day. Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly, to Bear Arms, to own property, to live or travel anywhere, to work at any job, to marry and raise a family, to education, to participate in politics, to equal justice, to wear what you want, to make your own choices in your life, to complain about plain red cups, to post naked pictures of yourself on the internet. You get to make those choices on your own.
I am grateful that I do not have to cover my face and body when I leave the house.
I am grateful that I could live in New York, Hawaii and North Carolina. I am grateful that I can move if I want.
I am grateful that I can be friends with whoever I want.
I am grateful that I listen to the music I want.
I am grateful that I could marry who I wanted.
I am grateful for both fast food and farmer’s markets.
I am grateful for being able to vote.
I am grateful for clean, running water.
I am grateful for our police force, our military, our EMTs, our ability to cure so many diseases, and science.
I am grateful that I can believe whatever I want.
This is a short list. When I picture myself living in a third world country or a country where women’s rights are non-existent, the list of gratitudes becomes extensive.
What freedoms are you grateful for?