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Honoring our Veterans on Veteran's Day

There are few in our society who deserve our praise, our gratitude and our respect as much as our veterans do. Few of us believe in that vision of peace we once dreamed of as children. As adults we must live in reality — in a traumatic world too often torn apart by hate and violence, terror and war — and we rely on our military to defend and protect us.

It’s quite extraordinary to consider that men and women both, valiant and courageous, step forward into a world of unknown danger to protect a country of unknown strangers. The only connection among us? We’re all countrymen. We all come from this same great nation, where all people, of all religions and race, regardless of nationality, sexuality or personality, are treated as one (at least, this is what’s supposed to happen). Our rights, our freedoms and civil liberties, are what define us as Americans. And it’s our veterans — those who have served in every branch of the Armed Services through the years — who we have to thank for preserving these precious rights. As Veterans Day is upon us, please, take the opportunity to do so.

Think for a moment what this nation would be like if it weren’t for the actions of our military fighting on our behalf whenever and wherever democracy has been challenged: fighting the Nazis in Germany, or during the conflict in Korea, the war in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else that freedom’s been at risk. Think of those who continue to enlist, despite the obvious dangers they face by doing so, just like the millions who have done so throughout history in the name of the United States of America.

Our veterans deserve so much more than mere thanks, but that’s a great place to start. And don’t limit your appreciation to one day a year on Veterans Day; whenever you encounter a veteran, take the opportunity to say, “Thank you.” For any veteran you meet is just one of many who has helped make this a world free for all of us to live in with some degree of comfort, safety, success, and just as importantly, pride, patriotism and gratitude. We should all be dutiful enough to take those traits, build on them and encourage them in others — that’s what the American spirit is all about.

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