At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of November 1918, the First World War ended with an armistice. On that day, the seeds of Veteran’s Day were planted.
For as long as I have been alive, Veteran’s Day had its place on the calendar. The problem it seems to come and go without as much notice as it deserves.
I have known several veterans in my past and present. Both my uncle and father served in the U. S. Navy. I have the remnant of my Dad’s service in the form of a mothballed wool uniform kept in a cedar chest.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, I want to remember one. His name was Orvie Green.
Mr. Green retired after many years of service as a brigadier general. But there was more than a star that marked Orvie.
My parents needed someone to keep my brother and me when I was a boy. An older couple at church loved kids, even though they could never have their own. They were the Greens.
He was on active duty and assigned to the New Mexico National Guard. Their apartment backed up to the National Guard Armory. It was fun to go to their house because the adjoining gymnasium gave a convenient place for basketball.
I know many who collect military artifacts, but Orvie was unlike any collector. He became the curator of the National Guard military museum.
He had uniforms from the Revolutionary War to the modern day. He had procured a Howitzer cannon, a tank, and an F-86 fighter jet. I would go to the museum and have a run of the place. How many 10-year-olds can say their playground was a tank and jet?
We moved from Santa Fe, leaving the Greens in tears (and me too). As I aged, I came to appreciate Orvie more because he showed a face of a veteran who was more than a warrior. He became a gentle guide, a silent example, and an unknown mentor.
To use the word “hero” would embarrass them, reserving such a hallowed term for a medal-laden few. The truth is veterans serve their country without fanfare. Most never want the spotlight but serve and come home to family and jobs.
Veterans show the value of sacrifice and service, virtues lost on an entitled generation. They demonstrate camaraderie rather than selfishness and devotion to a country rather than allegiance to a party.
So for all the Orvies, I thank you for your service. More importantly, I thank you for your example. All are unrecognized heroes.