Every Day Is Really Veterans Day
(November 10, 2009)
|Harlingen, Texas, November 8, 2009 - We have all read the various tributes to veterans, such as the one that starts out “It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion. That short paragraph goes on to say our freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to have a fair trial and our freedom to vote as we choose were all preserved for us through the suffering and dedication of our military veterans.|
It can be strongly argued that American military veterans, through their selfless service are owed an unplayable debt from a nation that would not even exist, had these courageous men and women not stood on the ramparts against almost uncountable enemies.
Today, a nation of more than 310 million people enjoys the blessings of freedom paid for by 25 million veterans now alive, and the one million 200 thousand who died in combat from the Revolutionary War until today. Not to be forgotten in the tabulation is our debt to the millions of veterans who returned home to live productive lives and then go to their final reward.
There is the 18-year-old farm boy from Iowa, who left part of his right leg in the sands of Iraq believing his sacrifice will keep children in school instead of preparing for war.
There is the helicopter pilot in Afghanistan who flew wounded soldiers to medical units, saving their lives. She became a warrior so little girls in that country could attend school, just as she had in California.
There is the father of three boys from Montana, who left his family at home while he trudged the hill country of Vietnam, hoping by his duty, those sons would never fight a foreign war.
All of America should seriously reflect upon what its veterans have done for their country and for freedom loving people across the globe. We should all understand that only one in every twelve of us steps forward in defense of our country and countrymen. Only one in every twelve of us is willing to place on hold time with family, advancement up the corporate ladder, that place on the college football team, the opportunity to stay safe and young and alive.
All too often we forget that the veteran is not just the soldier with a rifle, the Marine landing on a beach, the sailor on mid-watch about a ship, the Airman sending his fighter plane off on another mission. It is also the cook, the clerk, the supply sergeant, the doctor, the gate guard, the truck driver...all those thousands upon thousands of men and women who labored around the clock across endless days providing the support those front line warriors needed to accomplish the mission.
If this band of brothers and sisters had not taken it upon themselves to place their own future on hold while they stood guard over the future of their country, the land of the free would be only a distant memory for some of our older citizens and non-existent for everyone else. Every person who calls this country home owes the American military veteran an unpayable debt. Sadly, that is a debt we often forget to honor...and have failed to adequately honor since the time the first shot was fired in the Revolutionary War.
What is a veteran? It is a difficult question to answer. A single standard legal definition of military veteran has never been written. But, there is an anonymous statement that gives the term more meaning than most writers can place in print.
A veteran is someone, who at some point has written a check to Uncle Sam that reads: “Payable In Full Up To The Amount Of My Life, If Necessary, To Defend Our Way Of Life” . Just how many of us were willing to write such a check? Very few indeed.
Veterans Day is now here and again Americans will honor those who served in uniform. But, should it really be restricted to remembering them on November 11 each year. Shouldn't every day of our lives really be Veterans Day?
By Thomas D. Segel
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