Two for Veterans Day — US Holiday

An Affirmation for Veteran’s Day

I believe that — “thank you for your service,”
should be said to every
firefighter, police officer, EMT,
forest wildfire suppressor, social worker,
embedded journalist,
and public school teacher.

I believe that — “thank you for your service,”
should be said to every
foster parent, guidance counselor,
recovery group sponsor,
AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Senior Corps,
Red Cross, Doctors without Borders,
Habitat builder, Hospice volunteer,
and so many more.

I believe that — “thank you for your service,”
should be more than a knee jerk response
to a military uniform,
but should be said with the heart
and with the budget
to every veteran,
to active military personnel,
reservists, National Guard.

I believe that — “thank you for your service,”
should be said with housing,
employment and food stamps,
should be said with reliable health care,
drug counseling, treatment for PTSD,
long term grief support,
should be said with arts programs
and educational initiatives.

I believe that — “thank you for your service’
the conversation-stopper,
may be great to teach a child under ten,

but that, “I’d love to listen to you,”
is really what every veteran wants to hear.


Improv on Isaiah 58 for Veterans Day

Why do we hold a Veterans Day holiday,
but people exchange it for Black Friday?

Look, says God, who is surely watching,
you serve your own interests,
shop at car dealerships,
and oppress veterans returned home.

Is this a Veterans Day that I choose,
a day to wave a flag, hold a parade
a day to sign proclamations,
but reduce budgets of justice and care?

Is not this the holiday that I choose:
to loose the bonds of PTSD
undo the thongs of unemployment,
offer health care for veterans and families,
that covers what all Americans need?

Is it not to share Food Stamps
with everyone, and remember
so many veterans
live on them,
to bring the homeless veterans
into new housing options
and preserve the family lodging
of those in active service?

When you see drug and alcohol addiction,
is it not to treat them,
and refuse to hide yourself
from people now incarcerated
you once called “hero?”

Then will the therapies
of narrative, drama and visual arts
break forth a new dawn.
Then will healing of sleep deprivation,
moral injury, traumatic grief,
spring up hopefully.
Then will civilian life
feel like home,
because when a veteran cries for help –
someone is there.

If you remove the eagerness for war
from among you,
war for profiteering,
and war for access to oil,
and veterans see that in places they served
there is food for the hungry,
and the needs of children they met
are satisfied,
then their light will rise
their sacrifice make sense to their hearts.
Then there will be ease
for parched spirits.
and courage for making a life
with prosthetic devices.

If you refrain from trampling the holiday,
pursuing your political interests
and those of your favorite candidates;
if you recall this day remembers
Armistice, peace-making
a hope that there be no more wars,
no more lost buddies,
no more need for wonderful companion animals,
no more kids who meet a parent
after they walk and talk.

Then you honor this day,
and rebuild the ruins of many lives.
New generations
will serve their countries with pride,
both by repairing breaches
in foreign policy
and restoring the home streets
of our cities and towns.

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3 Responses to Two for Veterans Day — US Holiday

  1. Emily Geoghegan says:

    Very powerful, Maren. Thank you.

  2. Wow…that’s all I can say but I hope it is enough. Blessings, June

  3. Gail Orlando says:

    Thank you. This says so much for all of our Veterans!

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