11 November 2010

Veterans Day: More Than a Day Off

Today is Veterans Day. Across this great nation, on this day, there will be parades, breakfasts, and tributes for veterans. Still, there are others who will look at this day and treat it as just another day; a day off from work, a day to catch all the sales, and generally a day to relax. Many of those people will not even think about the veterans and the sacrifices they made to protect this nation. I bear them no ill-will; if that is how they want to spend veterans day, more power to them.

I cannot say that I am not disappointed, though. Too many people in this great nation have lost sight of our history; they forget to stop and think that if it were not for veterans, we could well have been defeated by the Huns, the Nazis, the Japanese, or the Communists of the Soviet Union and the world today would be much, much different from how it is now. If not for the men and women of yesteryear and today, you would not be able to go to the Public Library and check out a book, you would not be able to walk into a grocery store and buy everything you need to eat for a week or two, you would not be able to express your opinions about the government without fear of retaliation; you get the point.

Our children must be taught that there are people who willingly and routinely give of themselves to protect our country and preserve the freedoms many of us take for granted. Here are some great ideas on how to show your thanks and respect for our veterans:

1) Make it a point to go to a VA medical facility if there's one close-by and say thank-you to the veterans inside. Many of those veterans have no family and their closest friends are likely ones who were killed in combat; you will never know how much a hospitalized veteran appreciates that until you see the joy on his/her face.

2) Donate to the VFW, DAV, American Legion or any other patriotic organization that assists veterans. They rely on members' dues and donations, so a few bucks their way would really help.

3) When you meet a veteran, shake his/her hand, look him/her in the eye and say with all sincerity, "Thank You".

4) Teach your children about the sacrifices veterans made for them.

That's it; I know it doesn't sound like much but these little things mean a whole lot to veterans.

Before I end this post, I want to say Thank You to every single veteran in this country and to all the active duty and reserve that are in harm's way protecting and defending us...and to every man and woman I ever had the privilege to serve with, Thank You, my brothers and sisters, you are what makes this country great and I am honored to know you and call you friend.

That's it, folks, nothing left to say; so I'll close this out with a few of my favorite quotes:

It is the Soldier, not the minister who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, and who allows the protester to burn the flag.

A veteran - whether active duty, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.' That is honor, and there are far too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.

For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know.

Peace, out.

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