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On Veterans Day

Editorial by Drew Bergman

This week, I tried to condense certain key events of 55 years into the same length as I spent on an afternoon seven days ago while wrapping up an 8,000-word story in a medium that likes things turned in at 350 words.

Today, not the day I’m writing this, but the day you’re reading this, the day that actually matters, is Veterans Day.

That fact informed a lot of how I approached this last part of the Avery Smith series.

As much as we all want to say the story is simply about Avery, and as much as it is about Avery, what it’s really about, what it cannot help but be about is our responsibilities to each other. Which is another way of saying the story is really about Avery.

What made that man special is that he did not treat his responsibilities as a burden, but as what he was going to take care of next.

Picking your sister up when she’s had a bad day is the responsibility of a brother, Avery made it fun. Looking after your little brother and including him is the responsibility of a brother, Avery made it effortless. Helping your father on the farm, or your parents in the home is the responsibility of a child, Avery loved it so much it became the basis of his civilian and military careers.

Helping your friend out when they’re short on cash is the responsibility of a friend, Avery did it without a thought. Doing what you can to defend your troop is the responsibility of any soldier, Avery went above and beyond that call because ‘he was doing too much good,’ where he was.

If I had a time machine and could go back and ask Avery about anything in his life, any time he rose above expectations, I have no doubt he would fail to see what the big deal was.

He was just being a brother. He was just being a son. He was just being a soldier.

We honor our veterans because they take on one of the greatest responsibilities there is to a society.

This Veterans Day, maybe we should thank our veterans by seeing what responsibilities we as civilians can fulfill to our families, to our friends, to our coworkers, to the other members of our communities, and to our veterans.

And when we live up to those responsibilities, we’re not going to do it because we have to or we’re made to or we’re expected to, but simply because it’s what is there to do.

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