Day by day, we are able to speak our minds, share our opinions and banter back and forth without fear of persecution for only ONE reason - The Veteran.
The Vet is a person who thought of something greater than themselves. They fought in battles, far and wide. Some came home, bruised and injured. Some still wage a silent war within themselves, suffering from PTSD. Some never came home. Their lives were lost on a foreign shore in France, or a muddy trench in Germany. Some took their last breath along side their fellow soldiers on the frozen Chosin in Korea. Some bled out in a jungle in Vietnam, alone. Others were responsible for the end of the reign of terror from Saddam Hussein. Some young men and women died in the heavy sands and bleak mountainsides of Afghanistan, while searching for the evil one, Osama bin Laden.
War is a necessary price for the cost of freedom. Do the protesters involved in the Occupy Movement even realize that? Do they stop and give pause that someones son or daughter gave their life so that someone like "Joe Blow" can lay in a hammock, between two trees, in a city park, protesting that they feel slighted because they don't have a job? News flash here - you'll never get a job if you don't clean up your act, get out of the hammock and go look. Some brave soldier gave the protester the finest gift of all - freedom.
Somewhere in Little Town, USA are parents who waved goodbye to the child at a bus depot, and watched as that child headed out to boot camp; never knowing if they would return. Hugs and tears abundant, these parents said "until we see you again" and "god's speed". Suddenly yellow ribbons appeared on the oak lined street, and so began the prayers of hope and determination that the soldier would come home. For some parents, such prayers were answered, but for others there was a knock on the door and 2 military representatives in full dress blues with heavy hearts.
When you look at the Stars and Stripes, what do you think of? Do you feel the pain of a little boy or girl who will never know what their Mommy or Daddy endured so that freedom would live on? What about the soldier who returns home and faces the demons of post war traumas, whether physical or mental? Do you show disdain or contempt at someone who stops and pauses for a moment when they hear the National Anthem, while you hurriedly pass by, too busy to recognize the patriot in front of you?
All over this country's graveyards today, little American Flags decorate headstones. The VFW and others who realize the sacrifice of the soldiers, will take time to stop and show respect for those no longer here. Some citizens of this great nation will take a moment to stop and say thank you to a soldier.
I feel honored and blessed to have a family full of veterans. Men who thought of something greater than themselves, put on a uniform and proclaimed, "Yes, I will make the sacrifice so that you can enjoy the fruits of freedom"....