|Celebrating at the Marine's birthday ball|
We stayed out later than we intended to last night so getting moving this morning for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony hosted by the British Embassy was difficult. However, as we stood in the damp air at the Commonwealth War Memorial surrounded by other military members, Albanian and international alike, and stood at attention in front of the somber white tombstones of Commonwealth soldiers, I was again reminded why we were there. As the ceremony's emcee reminded us, taking time out from our busy schedules and standing in silence for two minutes is nothing compared to the ultimate sacrifice of the thirty-eight young men buried near us. Without the sacrifices made by these sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers, it is likely that we wouldn't even have the opportunity to stand there.
And finally, tomorrow is American Veterans Day, the day we recognize and remember the veterans of all of our wars. Not to be confused with Memorial Day which remembers our war dead, Veterans Day recognizes everyone who has served in the American Armed Forces. Unlike many federal holidays in the United States, Veterans Day is always celebrated on the 11th of November rather than the Monday closest to the actual day. It is a sheer coincidence that tomorrow happens to be a Monday and as such, we are in the midst of a three day long weekend. For too many Americans, Veterans Day is just another day off from work and school, a day to hang out with friends and family, and a day to shop the holiday sales. But this day is about so much more. So tomorrow, please take a moment to stop and say thank you to a veteran. It is only because of their sacrifice that we are able to enjoy the freedoms so many of us take for granted. I know I will be giving my thanks and I hope you do too.