Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Missed Opprotunity to Thank our Veterans

So I just realized yesterday was Veterans Day and I said not word one on the subject.  How sad is that?

I have a long history of military service in my family.  I have grandfathers (and a grandmother) on both sides of the family which proudly served our country.  There have been Marines and Army Soldiers.  I have officers and enlisted whose talents have ranged from engineering to guiding.  Many of them have seen combat.  Too many in fact have seen combat.

Yesterday was about honoring our military and the sacrifices they made.  I would also like to point out the way their service has enriched our lives.  In my family we have many values formed by the military we served.  While there are jokes about why the Marines are better than the Navy and in fact why they are better than anyone, military service has given my family a great respect for people and culture.

My grandfathers traveled the world in a time when travel was reserved for the rich.  They experienced culture and saw things only found in encyclopedias.  They saw combat, they saved friend's lives and they saw friends die.  They grew up with more responsibility than they could have imagined.

I had a grandfather who worked on the Panama Canal as a surveyor.  I had a grandfather who took pictures and measured roads in the Philippines. I had one grandfather who was a drill instructor. Another ancestor was an Indian guide for the American military.  Others fought in the Civil War, and before that the Revolutionary War.

I have heard their stories.  I have seen the look of sorrow on their faces as they tell of comrades lost and missions gone wrong.  I have seen the joy as they talk about our country.  I have seen their pride as they talk about being part of our freedom.

In today's age, as in ages past, we hear a lot of people talk about the role of the military in the world.  There is discussion about the rights, the wrongs and the indifferences caused by our soldiers.  When it comes to honoring their lives none of that matters.  Our military works hard to protect our freedoms.  They have bought our rights with blood, sweat and tears.  They have stood against the storms for the good of the people.

You do not have to agree with the missions to know our military works hard.  As I have watched my grandfathers age and leave military life I have seen them struggle.  There is a pull back to the service they knew.  There is a desire to be part of the action, part of the solution.  They watch the conflicts currently going on and remember their time abroad.  A veteran will always be the person who served their country.

I honor them.  I honor my family.  I honor my country and the ideas we fight for.  May we always remember our values and offer others the same freedoms we enjoy.  May we find peace whenever possible.

To our veterans I say thank you.  May your efforts bring our world to a better place.  We will not forget your sacrifice.

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