As I had to get up at 4.30am this morning to drive the husband 2hrs to the Airport, I wasn't asleep as I expected for the 2minute silence back in the UK which was 6am here. As we were driving I noticed the time at that exact moment as its always something I take part in at home and it really annoys me if people are talking its only 2minutes to show a little respect for lives we have now. I usually buy several Poppy's too and consider it a tradition to stab myself with the pin a few times too, but this year being in the states I have noticed not many people have Poppy's here which at first I thought was a shame. However as I was leaving the airport and driving about it was hard not to see people in Military Uniform today, as was it yesterday and actually you often see people in Uniform here on any given day. The reason is today named here "Veterans Day" anyone in Military Uniform can get tonnes of things for free and for their family just to say thank you for serving the country. From free: Meals, Starbucks Coffee, Krispy Crème Donut, haircuts, free admissions and much more. Not to mention people serving in the Military past and present get discounts year round on things like food shops, car prices etc.
I was explaining to some people yesterday that its nice here to see people in uniform and how well people treat them too, there are huge permanent signs outside most airports saying "Welcome home to our troops, we thank you" and the other day in a shop called Lowes random people were saluting a man just doing some shopping in his uniform....they give 10% off all year to Military. I was explaining that our British Military are also immensely proud but apart from maybe Military Towns you don't see people in uniform, they don't get any discounts, home coming parades have been famously boycotted by Muslims living in the UK but protesting our troops and further more just a few months ago a Soldier called Lee Rigby was walking down a London street in his Uniform (which as I said was rare anyway but he was returning from working at the Tower of London) and he was ran over then had his head cut off with a cleaver in broad British day light by two Muslims living in Britain, they said they did it to "Avenge the killing of other Muslims by British Soldier's in Afghanistan". Private Rigby had been on his way home to his wife and 2yr old son which he will never see grow up and these two men will probably go to Jail for life which again vs here which means life actually only means maximum 25yrs in Britain. At this point the people I was talking to couldn't speak, their troops are so loved and respected, they even did that fish thing by smacking their gums a few times but nothing came out, they literally couldn't believe it and eventually one said "Are you f*cking kidding me?!"
I am proud to be British and although I don't always agree with war especially when innocent people get hurt or soldiers for that matter, but this is the world we live in and I would rather have our Military protect us when darkness knocks at the door because sadly as I read on one of the plaques at the War monument in Washington DC "Freedom isn't Free". I was thinking about our same day named "Remembrance Day" and its so important to remember the fallen, if your ever in doubt just watch the incredible series about WWI and WWII by Steven Spielberg "Band of Brothers" I bawled my eyes out several times about how much they sacrificed and went through for us. However I think its even more important to honour the current serving Military, they should be receiving the same freebies and discounts for putting their life on the line, to protect and serve our country, not to mention sometimes spending months away from their own family and for a salary a footballer could make in about 2days! I'm pretty sure they would appreciate it more than people wearing Poppy's and doing a 2minute silence a lot of people don't even honour.
So step up Britain, I will certainly be doing some saluting of my own.
Happy Veterans Day and Lest we forget the fallen.