Let freedom ring

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Regardless of what you think of the war in Iraq or the president’s handling of the occupation, we should all become united in our appreciation of the men and women of our armed forces, past, present and future.

Next Tuesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day – a day to tell those who have served this nation valiantly, selflessly and honorably that we treasure them and fully support in all that they do.

Whether they fought in the trenches, battlefields, and jungles or served stateside behind a typewriter, all our veterans and future veterans have distinguished themselves by their service to freedom and the ideals upon which this great nation was founded.

Veterans’ Day services will be conducted locally and we should all take time out of our schedules to attend. The veterans didn’t serve for recognition or honors, but their honorable service does deserve to be recognized.

Most veterans are not war heroes. Most of them serve quietly, efficiently, and honorably. They do their part in keeping the country secure and in preserving the peace that we take for granted even now, just two years after 9/11/01.

When threats arise, they are in place to do the many jobs necessary so that the rest of us can enjoy our families and friends.

And when President Bush perceived the need, we once again called on the men and women of the armed forces to shield us from harm, protect our liberties and safeguard our way of life.

Today in Iraq, we once again ask the men and women of the armed forces to put themselves in harm’s way to preserve something more precious than a single individual’s life

And once again some of our sons and daughters will not return from this occupation to defend our freedoms.

Veterans Day is a day to thank all members of the armed forces for putting their lives on hold and at risk in service to their country.

Following the horror of seeing the Pentagon in flames and the World Trade Towers falling, we became a nation united. But although initially united by our resolve to crush the people who committed such atrocities, we soon dissolved into bickering factions – which, ironically, is what our veterans have fought and died to protect.

Democracy demands that we not be totally united in our ideals because if only one idea prevails, there is no room for growth, no flexibility in our thinking, and no hope for wisdom.

But on some things we can agree – our veterans deserve our respect, our admiration, and our undying gratitude.

So on Veterans’ Day, regardless of whether you think the invasion of Iraq was necessary for national security or a horrendous blunder, unite with your neighbors that think differently from you and pay tribute to our veterans.

Resolve to meet with your neighbors in expressions of solidarity. Veterans Day is one of the occasions when this is needed.

Just take a few moments out of your day to say &uot;thank you&uot; to the veterans who have so valiantly served this great nation. For the sacrifices they make to defend and preserve freedom, no compensation is enough. All that we can do, and all that our veterans want, is for the citizens of this great nation to acknowledge the value of the sacrifices they have made.

Veterans Day is the time to do that.

All of our veterans are heroes. Those who now serve and those who have served in the past – whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or the United States – are heroes not because they glory in battle like the ancient Spartans did, but because they desire a secure peace for their families, neighbors and fellow Americans so much they are willing to sacrifice their very lives for others.

Our veterans have manned the battlements of freedom to ensure that no nation can successfully wage war against us. Those who hate us for our liberties can only sneak murderers among us under the cover of darkness to slaughter the innocent, hoping we will respond by limiting the liberties that make us vulnerable to their depraved assaults.

Our veterans have preserved the peace in this nation so that we can sleep peacefully at night. Some of us have become fearful because of a single day of infamy in September 2001, but in reality our veterans have made this one of the safest nations on Earth. We should be able to sleep easy at night because nobody dares openly attack us from without.

Our veterans have made us secure. They allow us to enjoy our liberties and freedoms because we do not have to implement draconian measures to preserve the peace.

Our veterans have answered the call to war on those occasions when diplomacy has failed or madmen have forced us to protect freedom through armed conflict. And they have answered the call of peace, defending it with honor regardless of adversity and divisiveness.

Let us all pay tribute to our veterans on Veterans’ Day. Let us send a message to our men and women in uniform that their service is appreciated and will continue to be appreciated long after the work is done. And let us also send a message to the enemies of freedom that their efforts to destroy us are doomed to fail because we support our troops.

Celebrate freedom as your honor our veterans on Veterans’ Day.