Tomorrow is VETERANS DAY! Banks will be closed and mail will not be delivered. The Parish offices will be closed, but St. Austin Catholic School will be open and so will AISD schools. So it is a holiday but not totally a holiday.
Who we honor on this day is very important: all the men and women who have served and are serving our country in the armed forces of the United States. My 98-year-old dad served in Patton’s army in the Battle of the Bulge. Several of my high-school buddies served in Vietnam. My younger brother served in the Air Force with some pretty hilarious adventures in Alaska. The closest I ever came to military service was as a contract chaplain saying Mass at Eielson AFB near Fairbanks, Alaska.
It is important that we honor our veterans. They have served us all. We do that not just by taking the day off every year but also by making sure our service men and women and our veterans are treated fairly and well. This means voting for legislators who will untangle the red tape of the Veterans’ Administration, funding it appropriately, and making sure our veterans receive the medical care and the assistance they deserve.
It also means voting for legislators who will make sure that our current service members receive decent lodging and meals and not be shortchanged by granting contracts to private providers who collect large sums from the government but provide sub-standard housing, food, and other services. There has been a large push recently to have more and more services provided to our service women and men by private contractors rather than by the government directly. Sometimes this leads to better efficiency and cost savings, but all too often it leads to grift, corruption and subsequent denigration of the housing, meals, and support for our troops. You can read more about this at: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-housing-map/.
Veteran’s Day is more than just a day off. It is a day for us to honor and thank those who serve in our military. Pray for our veterans and service men and women. Say “thank you” to someone who serves in the military. Remember the veterans and current service members when you vote.