• Pandemiployment

Happy Veterans Day

I say it, of course I do, "Happy Veterans Day." Sent an email to Boo already.

Why is it happy?

I haven't personally lost friends in the service, though I know my husband has. I'm not sure this registers as a happy day for him.

There's "Thank you for your service," which I had never heard prior to dating Boo. I guess I just didn't know anyone in the military. I have to say, the phrase has always felt a bit pro forma in my mouth.

When you walk past someone in the street, or the store, and say, "How're you doing," and they respond, "Good, thanks." That kind of automatic doesn't really mean anything because it's just what you say. Please. Thank you. I'm good, thanks. Thank god it's Friday! Thank you for your service.

Maybe because I rely so heavily on words to try to tease out what I'm feeling, I notice when we've chosen an odd word to tack on to a phrase. Happy Birthday! Happy Father's Day! Happy Christmas (in certain parts of the world).

I say, "Happy Veterans Day" because that's the phrase we've come up with in order to greet folks in uniform on this day, or to put on cards. I can't think of a phrase that would easily replace it. Have a good Veterans Day?

Maybe we can't come up with a better phrase. Maybe the human experience is vastly more complicated than our language can handle (at least English). When you tell someone, "I'm so sorry for your loss" your expressed sorrow doesn't hold a candle to what they're feeling. Yet you say it anyway, because it's something to say.

I picture the Sistine Chapel, outstretched fingers almost touching. Maybe we're just trying to reach out and say, "I see you. I recognize you, as a person, dealing with a thing. I'm a person too. We're all just trying to survive."

Oh happy day.

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