"There's a lump the size of Grant's Tomb in your throat"

Wednesday is usually wordless for me on here.
Today is also Veterans Day.
That sort of makes it doubly wordless, but I'd like to post my thank you to those that have served for a cause they felt larger than themselves.

I am sharing this image today, because even though there are amazing and heart wrenching images of broken and battle scarred men and women, it is this installation that I find the most inspiring of all.

View of the service men & women of the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military in San Diego, California. Sculptures & installation by Eugene Daub & Steve Whyte.

Every branch of the military is represented in this installation by Daub and Whyte.
It was designed and erected as a tribute to Bob Hope and his service to the troops.

(You can read more about it and each individual figure here.)

Seeing the figures with smiles on their faces and a twinkle in their bronze eyes reminds us the troops are not merely veterans, but incredibly complex and brave human beings.
People that cry, laugh, love, and get homesick

The original founding of Armistice Day, on November 11, was because the Great War (WWI) technically came to an end at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918.

Part of the declaration by President Wilson in 1926 states

"Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; "

Armistice has since been changed to Veterans Day due to all of the wars since then, but I would like to focus on the 
perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding.

The National Salute installation reminds us of the softer side of the troops.
Bob Hope dedicated decades of his life to boosting troop morale. 
It's been said that the USO wouldn't exist without him.
John Steinbeck wrote of Hope in 1943-
"When the time for recognition of service to the nation in wartime comes to be considered, Bob Hope should be high on the list. This man drives himself and is driven. It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard and be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people."

Yet Hope himself said in '44-

""Believe me when I say that laughter up at the front lines is a very precious thing;
precious to those grand guys who are giving and taking the awful business that goes on there. . . . There's a lump the size of Grant's Tomb in your throat when they come up to you and shake your hand and mumble "Thanks."
Imagine those guys thanking me! Look what they're doin' for me. And for you."

This figure struck me, in particular. She is modeled after a WWII nurse, and is sketching Hope during his stand up act.

Every single troop, no matter the nation they serve, has a special skill, a hobby she or he enjoys, and a rich inner life.
Today I would like to thank all of those who have served.
Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, and all of the other terms used to describe it, will be recognized in many countries around the world today. 
I believe that by removing labels, and looking more deeply at the heart behind the medals with compassion and empathy, we may
perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.

For a truly inspiring (and brilliantly abbreviated) story about a veteran, swing by this comic  from the Oatmeal.
And thank you to my sister, the prettiest sailor in the whole damn Navy. ;-)
Michele Cox, I love you, you're hot!
(You, too, Dani.)
Thank you, Adam. Stay safe!
and of course, Chief Dave :D 

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