I am not from a military family. No one in my generation has served. Those in previous generations who served either by enlisting or being drafted, did not talk about their service. This is not a point of pride. It is merely my reality. Because of this, growing up, Veteran's Day felt like it belonged to other people. I felt a distant sense of gratitude for our country's founders and the many people who gave of their lives to give me the life I led, but I didn't connect with it personally.
Now, as an adult, I personally know many people who did or do serve: friends from high school, musicians who joined the military ensembles (all fiercely talented), and the family members of close friends. I feel much more connected to the many specific, daily sacrifices those who serve and those who love them make. I am humbled and honored by their service. I am proud to live in a country where people feel compelled to serve. If you or someone you love is or will be a veteran, I thank you, truly. Your service is part of what makes America a great country.
It has been hard, this week, to feel patriotic. I, like 90% of the people I know, am very disappointed in the results of the presidential election. As an artist and a progressive, I worry that our country will lose a lot of what we have gained in the past decade: health care, gay marriage, environmental protections, and all manner of other progressive policies. So today I am grateful to have a day to reflect on the many people who have devoted their lives to the service of our country. Today we honor veterans, specifically, but I am reminded that there are countless ways that we can serve. I am finding there is some hope and comfort in seeking ways to contribute to the good of our country and all its many residents. As I look for ways in which I can give of my time and resources, I hope you all will as well, no matter your political persuasion, no matter your talents, and no matter your financial resources.
These songs made me feel better about my country today, and it made me feel grateful to be an American. I hope they do the same for you.
Opera singer, opera producer, podcast co-host, lover of music, travel, food, and all things mind-bending.