Maybe it comes so closely after Election Day to remind us that there are – or should be – some things that are bigger and more important than political parties and campaigns, power brokers, winners and losers, acceptance and concession speeches.
To remind us that in order to enjoy the privilege of self-governance, we also need to shoulder the responsibility of self-protection.
To remind us that whether someone serves out of deeply held beliefs, or because it’s the best way he or she can support a family, it is still service.
To remind us that our massive resources can be used to benefit the world community, rather than only to keep it at bay.
Right now, for example, thousands of service people are helping to build and staff field hospitals and provide other forms of aid in communities stricken by Ebola. They go because they are called to help. We hope they come back healthy, though we know they will be changed by their experiences.
We might remember to thank our military men and women (and dogs) not because it is the politically correct thing to do, one day a year, but because this day reminds us they do so much of the hard, slogging, messy, dangerous work that is necessary to keep our human community afloat.