“When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered.”

Veterans Day. Memories of past wars, forgotten battles, fallen comrades all surge back. But what is the true significance of the day? Does it transcend the sacred ranks of those who served, and their families, to reach the wider population? Does it matter?

It does. It matters to veterans. It matters to the community. It matters to politicians and policymakers.

First, it matters to veterans and their families. This is a day when their sacrifices are recognised and appreciated. Nowadays, thanking one for his or her service has become commonplace. But that was not always the case. Vietnam veterans, most notoriously, were shunned — if not abused — for serving their country. Politicians, on the other hand, would escape mostly unscathed. Leading from the front, right? The British have a saying that describes this ignominious situation: “Play the ball, not the man.”