Giraffe Defense & Honoring Veterans

November 11 is Veteran's Day, a day to remember the service and sacrifice of many of our country's men and women who served in the military to protect our rights and freedoms.

In honor of this day, I want to discuss a different kind of warrior. The giraffe. Maybe not what you were expecting, but I hope you'll stick with me for a moment.

Let's face it, most people see giraffes as docile animals. Although they aren't usually aggressive, they can be effective fighters when necessary. The average giraffe is 15 to 17 feet tall. They are the tallest animal on earth, so many assume they don't have to fight.

But they do.

A giraffe's hooves may be the difference between survival and death, especially when lions come hunting. Their hooves are huge, as big as dinner plates. And lethal. 

Anne Dagg and Bristol Foster, authors of The Giraffe It's Biology, Behavior, and Ecology (1982 reprint), share some examples of this behavior in their book:

  • Image of Barbara's tennis shoe inside the much larger impression of a giraffe's hoof.
    My foot inside an impression of
    a giraffe's hoof print
    at the Nashville Zoo
    A member of a safari company spotted a blood-spattered giraffe but found it uninjured. He followed the giraffe's trail and discovered what looked like a bloody rag. It was the remains of a lion. The giraffe had trampled it beyond recognition.
  • A female giraffe protecting her young from a lion killed the predator with one kick from her forefoot. According to observers, they only needed a knife to finish severing the head from the lion.
  • A lion stalking a mother and calf gave up after the mother tucked her calf underneath her and faced off against the lion. The lion circled her trying to get close enough to snatch the calf, but she never took her eyes off of him and struck out with her forelegs if he got close.

As in anything in the wild, sometimes the lions succeed, sometimes the giraffes do. The giraffe is not without defensive capabilities, though, and that's significant in light of Veteran's Day. They fight because they have to.

Veteran's Day offers a chance to honor those who put their lives on the line to defend and protect us. Ultimately, that's what soldiers do—they stand in harm's way to protect us, just like that mother giraffe does for her calf. In today's world, we might not acknowledge the power of our military's service and sacrifice as well as we should. Each time you act in a way that proclaims your freedoms in this country, you can thank a veteran or current member of the military for that right.

In The Watchers of Moniah trilogy, soldiers fight battles to protect their countries, too. Characters die as they fight to stop a traitor's attempt to conquer their homes and remove their rights. I don't think I understood the depth of our military's sacrifice until I wrote the third book in this series (tentatively releasing in February 2021). Soldiers fight because it's what needs to be done. Many die. And yes, some fight because they have no choice, but they still do it because they love or believe in someone depending on them.

My books are fiction, so the outcome, although of interest to me and the reader, does not affect our daily lives. We have many people in our country who gave their lives or came home injured or spent extensive time away from their families defending our rights, and they deserve our thanks and respect. 

Thank a veteran this week for the freedoms you have.

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