I was really moved by the hundreds of people who gathered on the Falmouth Public Library lawn today to celebrate our local veterans. To celebrate all our military really, but it was the tribute to our local men and women that touched me so deeply. Something on the local level brings home the reality of newspaper headlines and statistics.
There were speeches and music, and then the walk of veterans who marched in procession through the cheering crowd. Veterans from World War II. Few in number, but strong in spirit. A few on walkers; some in wheel chairs pushed by proud family members. One man held up on two sides, but determined to stand tall for the walk. Veterans of the war in Vietnam and beyond. All proud of their part in America’s history. So deserving of the heartfelt tribute that surrounded them today.
Flags were also placed on all 57,000 graves at the National Cemetery in Bourne by volunteers working with Operation Flags for Vets. The sheer numbers of flags waving in the breeze is enough to give anyone pause.
I learned something today that I should have known long before this. I guess that I just never thought about the difference between the two holidays. Memorial Day is a day to remember the men and woman who have given their lives for their country. It’s a day of mourning. Veterans’ Day, on the other hand, is a day of tribute and celebration. A day when we honor the people who have stood, and those who still stand, in the face of danger to keep us safe.