re: "Tribute to Veterans"
"People serve all around us.Many serve, merely to serve. Some feel that God calls them to serve, out of spiritual conviction, or fidelity to a higher purpose. Some serve out of Family duty, or Honor. Many serve from an out-flowing of the love they’ve received. Some serve to find adventure and excitement, and some serve for recognition or reward.
We do not lesson the value of others, by according special honor and respect to those who serve in our Armed Forces: the men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, Active Duty military, Reserves, and National Guard.
Living today are veterans of World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, other Cold War operations, the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, or the Sinai, and military liaison missions in Africa. Many veterans served in “peacetime,” or in support roles that allowed combat forces to fulfill their missions.
We honor and respect our veterans, because they risk the greatest of sacrifices. Sadly, many fine Americans gave their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice for their country. No Veteran knew ahead of time the specific hardships they would endure.
None knew the guarantee of survival. Few fully grasped the dangers, difficulties, or the personal cost of service. They committed only to serve, far from home, in dangerous corners of the world. They did not run from duty, they embraced it. Some were called in draft, in earlier days of crisis or pressing need. More recently, they volunteered."
"The Greatest Generation, they’re called, in tribute to their defense of civilization, from totalitarianism and holocaust. Many of that same generation served in the UN-sanctioned Korean War, a scant 5 years later.
Another generation served in Vietnam, where more served when called, than ran away, sought excusal or deferment. They served with quiet pride, sacrificially, in the face of protests, hateful speech, and vicious untruths. Only recently, America has tried to properly honor our Vietnam era Veterans, after years of neglect and scorn."
"(F)or every Veteran who serves, there was a husband or wife, Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, son or daughter, brothers or sisters, grandchildren even, neighbors, friends, Pastors or co-workers, who served, who sacrificed, and who endured the same fears and uncertainties.
Any Veteran will tell you, however tough they had it, their families had it worse. The never knowing if silence meant something worse. Wives worrying for their deployed husbands. Husbands anxious for the day their wives return home from war. A child who cries at night, longing for a Mom or Dad who’s not home anymore, and they can’t understand why. The hundreds of things every day, made sad, poor, of little joy or comfort, because a loved one can’t be there to share. All the chores made easier for two, now dependent on a lonely one. And for single parents, the pain of leaving a child with a relative or friend, who can never love and comfort like Mom or Dad does."
"The average soldier returning from Vietnam felt abandoned by country and shunned by fellow citizens. Today, we’re overwhelmed by the support of our family, neighbors, and friends. “I’m no hero,” most of us say. “I never saw any action.” For most, but obviously not all. Like a lottery in reverse, where only the very unlucky lost. The rest of us won, I guess, just by making it home, with all or most of the pieces where they belonged.
Each generation faces challenges, trials, and tribulations common to humanity, and there have always been those few, who answered their Nation’s call, no matter the sacrifice. There’s always a personal cost, always some missing pieces. Even if only lost time."