I’ve been touring World War II, Vietnam and history museums for a while now because my wife is a history buff. I mostly drooled and snored through history classes, so I never learned much…boy was I missing out! My father is a veteran, but could never share what he went through…so I only saw a broken man without the cause. Many times now, with the causation clearly defined, I have been brought nearly to tears when faced with not only the sheer loss of life and seeming insanity of war, but also the moral code and the emotional and physical fortitude of men and women dying to die for their country. It’s no wonder some of the men and women in uniform have a difficult time letting go of that past.
I challenge anyone to stand in front of a memorial and not be moved. To gaze upon the names, faces and photos; to think about the families, friends and loved ones they left behind to do their duty; to not feel a bit insignificant; to not struggle with pride and sadness at the same time.
You may or may not agree with the bureaucracy, the politics or the necessities of war, but I beg you not to take issue with those doing their duty. The men and women doing what we don’t want to do or don’t dare to do.
It is staggering and amazing how we, as a country and individually, sweep events and veterans themselves under the rug and/or simply forget what these people did for us, and continue to do for us and this country. We cry racism and persecution at every little insult or slight and these people face genocide and death. We complain about our hardships and these people endure hell on earth. We forget and go on as if nothing has changed when these people struggle to go on at all. We scream about entitlement while they fight for disability for their wounds.
Veterans deserve our respect and admiration. If you have a beef with the government and its affairs, don’t take it out on the soldiers doing their job. They choose to love their country, obey orders, and to die for what our leaders think is right–for our safety, security, rights and freedoms. Fault the leaders if you must, but celebrate the heroes and respect the lives given up for us all in the name of freedom.
I salute you, veterans…on all days, not just today. I pray we never forget what you’ve given for us.