Do you know why we celebrate Veterans Day?
Do you know why we put up statues, inscribe names on the wall, wax sentimental about purple hearts?
Do you know why we can’t seem to get enough of war movies?
Obviously, we do all that in part because the men and women who have served and still serve have ensured the survival of everything we cherish about this country.
But that’s not all.
We also pay such attention because we are fascinated by the ever-repeated demonstration that people will do almost anything for one another under fire — they’ll charge machine guns, go at a tank with a grenade, carry a fallen comrade through a field of mines.
Of course, some people don’t require the adrenaline of combat to make sacrifices for a friend in a foxhole.
Consider what Misti Isley DeCaire has done every day since 1993, when she started welcoming otherwise homeless veterans into her 6,000-square-foot, 15-bed shelter.
A war veteran herself, she has provided shelter, care and compassion for 5,500 veterans.
Of course, she can only do so much. An astonishing and incomprehensible 154,000 veterans are homeless on any given night — many as a direct result of the wounds and traumas they suffered on our behalf, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Each of them, demonstrate that unlike the Marines — we will leave a man behind.
Alas, DeCaire took a hit in the current recession. She needs $12,000 to keep the doors open, with the mortgage payment past due.
Man down. Man down.
She has scheduled some yard sales, in a desperate attempt to raise money to make a dent on the back payments. She’s done it all mostly with donations all along – with a minimum of grant money.
So now we get a chance to find out what we’ll do under fire. What sacrifice will this community make for that wounded soldier sharing our foxhole. Will we find better cover — or stoop to shoulder the burden?
You can find the answer by contacting Misti DeCaire at Veterans Helping Veterans, 212 W. Wade Lane in Payson, telephone (928) 474-3920.
Oh, yeah — and Happy Veterans Day.