I'm a Pundit Too

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thank You Veterans!

Last Thursday as the country watched in horror the extreme cowardice of Major Nidal Hassan at the Fort Hood Army Base, I was reminded of the sacrifice that the men and women of our armed forces make each and every day. Since our great country’s inception, men and women have put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. More than 1,314,000 lives have been lost in the 233 years since our forefathers declared their independence from tyranny.

I have the honor of visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center on a weekly basis to perform the duties of my job. As I walk the corridors of these hospitals, I see the men and women who have lost limbs in combat and I am humbled and inspired by them.

Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day that commemorated the end of World War 1. In 1954 it became Veterans Day to honor all veterans from all wars. 22 years ago, I was standing at attention in Navy Boot Camp listening to our Company Commander vent her anger and frustration at some local radio personalities who failed to show the proper respect for the meaning of the holiday. Sadly, not much has changed in the past 20 years.

Today we observe Veterans Day and for many people, this is a day that they will not even realize is a holiday. They will probably wonder why the bank is closed at lunch or why their mail didn’t get delivered. To many it is merely a nuisance vice a sobering reminder of the honor, integrity, courage, and patriotism those veterans from every generation of our nation’s history have displayed.

The members of our armed services, both past and present, are a rare breed; they truly are the bravest and finest that our country has to offer. They deserve our admiration and respect. The United States of America is a great country because of our freedoms and we are free because of the sacrifices of our veterans. At the funerals of veterans, a flag is presented to the family of the fallen with the words, “On behalf of a grateful nation.” Those should be our words every day of the year to our veterans. Today I stand and salute the veterans from every branch of service that have come before me, and those who have dutifully followed after me. I humbly say, “On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you!”

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