NOTE FROM NORM: We should thank a Veteran every day for our Democracy
As the proud son of a Veteran this day is a bittersweet reminder of my Dad.
My Dad was my hero.
I always marveled at his strength, wisdom and courage.
He enlisted in the Army at the start of WW2, lying about his age because he was too young to enlist!
He landed on the beaches of Normandy in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944 and ultimately earned a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge and fighting until Germany surrendered.
Today, he lies at rest in Arlington National Cemetery surrounded by countless other men and women who served their Country with distinction.
I’m not sure I’ve ever made any major decision in my life without asking myself what would my Dad have done.
Yet he, like the millions of American Veterans before him, and those that came after him, didn’t stop serving the United States when their military service was complete.
They came back home from their duty stations and built this nation.
Today there are barely 300,000 veterans of World War II still among us. The numbers are dwindling by the day but their contributions to America will continue to be felt by generations long after they are gone.
Today, there are an estimated 19 million American Veterans who served the nation in war, and in peacetime, an each and everyone is responsible for the freedom and liberty we enjoy today.
They represent every walk of American life. The come from the richest and poorest amongst us. Men and women who continued in the tradition of military service of previous family members. Those who were inspired by patriotism after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Others who found themselves searching for direction in life and found it serving in our nation’s military.
There were those who went to war willingly. Others who were drafted into it.
No matter the reason, the branch of service or where and how they served each of them is responsible for the strong fabric of democracy America enjoys like no other nation in the world.
The call to service for Americans has been part of our enduring legacy since our Founders declared our independence from the British Empire.
From all walks of life came those prepared to serve and fight to gain that independence and since then men and women from all walks of life have come those to serve and fight to keep it.
Perhaps no institution in American life has done more to ensure equity and equality than our nation’s military.
Today, as our nation celebrates the end of another national election with a historic turnout of nearly 161 million Americans it should be a reminder that our nation’s freedom and liberty always comes with a cost.
In peacetime it is still brave men and women serving at home, or abroad, away from their friends and family.
They are still on the frontlines of danger, called upon to put their lives on the line, to keep our enemies, foreign and domestic, from impinging on our Constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In war, or any armed conflict in which their Commander-in-Chief calls upon them act in the name of the United States of America, we can rest assured that our fighting men and women are the best equipped, best prepared and best lead in the world.
And, on this day we set aside to honor those who serve our nation it is incumbent upon us to also remember that how we treat our Veterans today will determine how future generations Americans will see their way to committing to serve in our military tomorrow.
President George Washington summed it up best when he said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
It is likely you know a Veteran in your life. Perhaps at work, in your family, a next-door neighbor or even someone you happen to meet in the grocery store or on the sidewalk in your community.
While we set aside this day to honor them it doesn’t need to be a single day of the year when we see those we know who served to let them know we appreciate, respect and honor their service.
When you see them, take a moment, pause, and give them their due with a simple “Thank you for your service.”
It’s the least we can do for those who sacrificed so much to ensure our freedom and liberty- and who have served as the foundation of the greatest Nation on earth.