At my crossfit class today in a swanky gym in Murray Hill New York, our coach started the class as he always does with the question of the day. Being Veteran’s Day, he asked if any of us are veterans? As I looked around at the 30 or so classmates who had assembled on this day off to do our WOD-work out of the day- everyone shook their head no. Some women and lots of men, older and younger and from different backgrounds but no one is or was in the military. The coach commented that after teaching five classes prior to this 1pm class, there wasn’t a veteran yet. He went on to ask us instead to name one thing we are thankful for being Americans and played Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”
This is a far cry from my work and life overseas particularly when I was in Iraq and Afghanistan. There, I had the opportunity of working side by side with military colleagues who were in meetings with me during the day and lived in the same quarters at night. There was a collective sense of civilian relief seeing them in their fatigues- a feeling that everything will be safe and protected.
Now, that I am back in the US, it’s rare to see the military. Life here is segregated from the ongoing conflicts and wars where the military continues to serve. The sacrifices and the troubles of those who serve aren’t only hard to relate to and understand but forgotten altogether.
So on this day, people remember and even if it’s only for a short while, it’s a special day. Happy Veteran’s Day.