Tomorrow is Veterans Day and, like last year and the year before that, it is a day on which the United States is engaged in military conflicts on several fronts, including Afghanistan, which is said to be the nation’s longest war.
According to the census, there are 22 million United States military veterans. About 1.7 million American men and women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq, some in both countries, and some on multiple tours of duty. Each has a personal understanding of what Veterans Day means. In a recent poll, only a third of these veterans said they believed those wars were worth fighting. And the number who reported having emotional difficulty returning to civilian life is now almost twice what it was among those who went to war before Sept. 11, 2011.
Small gestures can help. One event, for example, will take place on Saturday at the Stephen Talkhouse, the Amagansett music venue. A group of musicians calling themselves Music for Morale will entertain to raise money to buy much-wanted supplies for a Marine unit deployed in Afghanistan, as well as to provide musical instruments for wounded veterans and those suffering from other war-related problems.
This year, it is important not to overlook this country’s most recent servicemen and women, to thank them for the jobs they did or continue to do, to welcome home those who have returned, and to think with sadness of those who did not.
Tomorrow on East Hampton Main Street — as in cities, towns, and villages across this country — veterans will march. It will be an opportunity for all of us, those who served and those who did not, to remember.