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2014 Veterans Day Observance
Veterans Day is a good day to abandon abstractions when it comes to how we see our veterans. It may be hard to do, but they deserve it and we owe it to them.</br></br>But, what does that mean?</br></br>It means seeing our veterans as real human beings instead of lumping them in with our feelings about what’s going on in the world and our role in it as a global superpower. Everybody has a knee-jerk opinion about this or that conflict and the state of national defense, but none of that should matter when we honor our veterans.</br></br>For example, a lot of people say, “War is bad.” Whatever your stance on that statement, it's still just an opinion that has nothing to do with our veterans. Moreover, it's an important fact that many of our veterans empathize with this sentiment – perhaps more so than any civilian ever could – but that and countless other humanizing details too often get drowned out by the abstraction.</br></br>Visiting with veterans is the best way to overcome our preconceived notions about who they are and the importance of what they do, but one of the next-best things is to listen to their stories via NPR’s StoryCorps project and the Military Voices Initiative, which you can read more about <a title="The New Yorker" href="http://www.newyorker.com/culture/sarah-larson/simple-powerful-war-stories" target="_blank">here</a> in this recent article in <em>The New Yorker</em>.</br></br>One particular story this Veterans Day, which began as a moving StoryCorps entry in 2011, <a title="NPR" href="http://www.npr.org/series/4516989/storycorps" target="_blank">revisits two veterans</a> who crossed paths during a time of tragic loss. It’s not important to tell that story here, as it is their story to tell, but sharing it is something we can do to broaden our perspectives about a sliver of our society that is often misunderstood or marginalized.</br></br>All of us at ATGStores.com would like every veteran out there to know that we see them on this Veterans Day and always; not as a function or result of policy, but as individuals with amazing hearts and a devotion to the ideals we as Americans hold dear.