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
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?
Thomas D. Segel
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