Veterans’ Day and America’s Debt to Those Who Served
(Parts of this article are from a piece originally published on PJ Media.)
Today is Veterans Day, a day to remember that every American—and many millions from other countries around the world—owe a great debt to the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. military, past and present.
From the Revolution up through modern times, millions of Americans have risked everything to ensure we could be free. It has been said so many times it has become a platitude, but it’s a truth we should all remember: freedom isn’t free. It is purchased by the blood and sweat of our military.
“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be,” said John Quincy Adams. America doesn’t go seeking war, he explained. While the American government has in fact become more foolish in seeking wars since, despite the idiocy of many politicians and military top brass over the years, America’s military members were overwhelmingly brave and honorable.
Both my parents served in the Air Force, my uncles joined the Army, my sister was Air Force, and my brother is Army. My grandfather enlisted during WWII, his father was a military chaplain, and his brothers all served — one stormed the beaches of Normandy. My great-grandfather was a WWI-era submariner. My great-uncle died in Vietnam, and I have ancestors who fell at Antietam and Missouri Ridge. I am able to have my rights today because of their sacrifices, and the same can be said of each of us. Whether we have family and friends who served or have never known a service member personally, we all rely on the military to defend our safety and freedoms.
From Trenton to Gettysburg, from Yorktown to Petersburg, from Mexico to China, from Manila Bay to Lake Champlain, from Belleau Wood to Normandy, from Iwo Jima to Vietnam, from Korea to Iraq and Afghanistan, whether by land, air or sea, Americans have purchased liberty with their blood. No brave death is ever in vain, no sacrifice is ever wasted while we remember and honor our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
The service member leaves family behind, braves injury and even death, lives in harsh climates and dangerous surroundings far from home. Even those who never see combat make sacrifices that most Americans aren’t willing to make. The simplest activities of everyday life for us—shopping, recreation, greeting the family at night—become objects of intense longing for the men facing death on a daily basis thousands of miles from home.
With the American Revolution’s victory, the Marquis de Lafayette rejoiced, “Humanity has won its battle. Liberty now has a country.” Liberty has a country because of our military.
Whether you thank a veteran for his service in person or online, whether you attend an event or donate to an organization that helps veterans (especially wounded veterans), express your gratitude today. We can never fully pay off the debt we owe, but we should try to do so to the best of our abilities.
If you are a veteran, thank you. You represent the best and bravest of America, the heroism that bought and maintained freedom for millions. As the great Gen. George Patton—whose birthday is today—once said, “America without her soldiers would be like God without his angels.”
Happy Veterans’ Day!
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