Every Sunday at mass there is always a special petition, praying for our veterans and their safe return home. So, this got me thinking. What is a veteran, and do I know any veterans? A veteran is, “a person who has served in a military force, especially one who has fought in a war.” After figuring that out, I decided to talk to my parents and ask them if I know any veterans. Surprisingly, I have four family members who are veterans. I did not know this because they never really said anything about it or told stories about their experiences. I believe these silent veterans make up the majority of those veterans who are alive today.
What do I mean by silent veterans? These are the people who we look at every day and never know that they served our country in times of war, peace, or other conflicts. They could have served overseas, in our country, or right in our own town or city. But we never knew. My grandpa, Leonard, served in the Korean War. My great-uncle Fred served during the Vietnam War. My cousin Robbie served in the Army and was injured while he was in South Korea. Another cousin, Michael, is currently serving in the Air Force and has been part of the recent conflicts.
These veterans are not in parades, or seen in commercials or ads, and don’t come and talk at schools. They are just as proud for what they did for country as the other veterans; these are the veterans who choose to be silent. Now that I know this, I am going to personally thank those silent veterans next Veteran’s Day. I am going to thank them with a simple card or call. Next time the petitions are read for the veterans, I will know exactly who to pray for - “The Silent Veterans”.
This is the fourth in a series of four essays by Waukesha Catholic students about veterans. These four students had the opportunity to place a wreath at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Waukesha Catholic’s inaugural 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C.