Every year around this time I am reminded how little military life and service affects most of us anymore.
Most of the men in my family are veterans. In my father's generation, the generation of WWII and Korea (and in my younger uncle's case, Vietnam), that was the norm. But as we have transitioned to an all-volunteer army, that has become less common. In some communities and families, of course, military service is common. But many people no longer know anyone personally who is serving or has served in uniform.
This isn't to say that there are not other ways to serve the country—I think our diplomats, our Peace Corp volunteers, missionaries, our covert operatives, politicians are all public servants and they all have a role to play in keeping the country safe . But today is the day we set aside to recognize those who have served in this particular way, and it's fitting, I think, as we continue to fight two wars and to confront terrorism, that we acknowledge those who have worn the uniform, and their families.
I also think it's fitting that we had the stories of two very different public servants today:
Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration and former United Nations Ambassador. She's offering her thoughts on what the next President should do, as she puts it, to restore America's reputation abroad. We talked about the new book she has out that expands on those ideas and we talked about it (hint: CLOSE Guantanamo Bay and rejoin the climate emission talks are two of her suggestions).
We also heard from "Buffalo Soldier" Joseph Stephenson (who happens to be the father of our regular parenting panel contributor Jolene Ivey), who talks about serving in the all-segregated army and coming under fire.
To all those who serve, in uniform or out, both here and abroad, we thank you.