Last night, as I was wistfully staring out the window and contemplating my next post (a highly enjoyable alternative to studying for my business law exam…oops), it seemed that the thing presented itself to me as snowflakes began to gently drum upon my window. THE FIRST SNOWFALL! Suddenly the dark world shifted into a glittering forest, and nothing was the same. Oh, wonder of wonders! I mentally drafted a neat little treat of an essay reminiscing on childhood traditions, snow forts, winter feasts, seasonal decor, present lists, and the thrilling arrival of Christmas! Of course, what could be easier and more fun than to explore and share these happy thoughts. But I was mistaken, as I soon realized with a glance at my calendar. There was something more important unfolding here. While November 11th marked the first snowfall in Omaha Nebraska for the year 2014, November 11th also marks the one day of every year on which we honor and bless the memory of those war saints who paid the ultimate price that we may live as we do; November 11th is Veterans Day. The first snowfall provided the inspiration I was seeking, but the inspiration was not meant to end there but rather to propel my thoughts forward into the greathearted passions of honor, respect, and thanksgiving.
“In valor there is hope.”
-Publius Cornelius Tacitus
“What is to give light must endure burning.”
Today is, second, the 2014 festival of the first snowfall but, primarily and foremost, the observance of Veterans Day. The snowflakes that fell on my cheek today were cheerful and playfully reminded me to be thankful for the little pleasures. But they also whispered something more solemn, more fierce as they burned me with the memory of the mountain of sacrifices that allow me to safely walk to class every morning. Today is to pay our respects to the war saints who gave their lives that I may sit here in my cozy little dorm, peacefully admiring the snowfall across the plain of Nebraska, without fear for my safety or violation of my freedoms as I discover my American Dream. What we remember today is greater than Nature in all her swirling majesty. Trampling the animalistic instinct for self-preservation at all costs for a higher cause, we remember the people who performed a sacred action reserved for the human race alone: to lay down one’s life for another. What can we possibly offer in return? So: thank you, thank you a thousand times, and a thousand more. We, in order, will safeguard with our lives the high ideals for which you fought. We will not let your glorious memory fade. And when life asks us the real questions, may we have the courage and heroism to follow you to Calvary.