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[Reposted from the archives of the old blog.]

I’m not a civil rights icon. I’m not a president (live or dead). I’m not (yet) a dead serviceman, nor am I much concerned with Labor. I did not “discover” North America. I’m not a Christmas tree, a groundhog, a secretary, a boss, a pumpkin, an Easter bunny, a cupid, a leprechaun, or a turkey.

Nonetheless, I get my very own holiday. Veteran’s Day is all about me–me and the millions and millions who signed on the dotted line before me, signed it along with me, and will be signing it when I’m dust.

So raise a glass, if you will (and metaphorically if you must), to Rodger Young, Roy Benavidez, Audie Murphy, Gary Shughart and Randy Gordon. Raise a glass to Jared Monti, Michael Murphy, Jason Dunham, Ross McGinnis, Michael Monsoor, and Paul Smith.

But keep it raised for Ray Joseph and Big Edge and all of the other guys you didn’t read about or see on the big screen.

And then keep it raised for every joe who has arthritis before his time, nightmares he doesn’t remember, scars that won’t heal, kids who don’t know him, and missing limbs and comrades.

Keep it raised for every joe that has ever fixed a truck under fire, every admin puke that stayed late to make sure the dependents were taken care of, and every chaplain that shouldered another man’s load.

Keep it raised for every gate guard, school teacher, bus driver, lawyer, computer nerd, mechanic, short order cook, and garbage man that ever wore a different uniform.

Your arm may be getting tired by this point. It should be.

[Addendum: And if you’re Peter Jemley or Ron Arlt, today would be a great day to keep your mouth shut.]