Veterans Day is a holiday where we remember the military lives that have been lost, and the veterans that have survived. Veterans Day means many things to different people. For veterans themselves it means celebrating the freedom and brave soldiers who fought for our country, but it also means remembering the lives lost for the freedom of the United States.
“It’s a day when we can all celebrate the brave warriors that have protected the freedoms of our great country since its inception,” Marine Corp veteran Robert York said.
While many Americans celebrate the safe return of their loved ones from war, others remember their fallen family and friends. Many returning soldiers suffer from survivor’s guilt which is when they feel guilty for surviving the war while others were not so fortunate.
“I grew up on the same street as George and Jim Wright. Both of whom were killed in the Vietnam War, for 50 years I have had a guilty feeling when I drove by their house,” York said.
“Veterans feel guilty coming home with their friends still there and not knowing what happened to them. I learned as long as you keep your fallen friends and veterans in memory I won’t forget them, and they won’t be forgotten,” Marine Corp veteran Daniel Weakland said.
Lives were and still are forever changed by war. When the Vietnam War veterans returned to the United States they were treated terribly. They were called “killers”, “murderers” and worse. They were spit on by fellow Americans and were dishonored, but as time went by people started to realize what they sacrificed to serve in the war and honored their bravery and hard work.
Above, Daniel Weakland during a tour in Vietnam and his formal Marine Corp photo.
“Coming home from Vietnam was not easy. Protesters spit on us because we lost the war. Vietnam vets would not bring up that they were a Vietnam veteran- you were quiet about it- it wasn’t a good thing to be a part of,” Weakland said.
Slowly, as the years passed, citizens began to realize all the sacrifice that veterans made to fight for their country.
“I started putting veterans things on my Harley vest, and I was proud to be a veteran. One day, a lady came up to me and said ‘thank you.’ This reminded me to be proud of what I had done,” Weakland said.
Veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for America and should be honored and celebrated for their service. This is what Veterans Day is all about.