As I write this, the United States has sent military personnel to fight the Ebola Virus outbreak in Western Africa. We have sent military people to serve in a “noncombat” role in the Middle East, dealing with ISIS terrorists who are always willing to kill noncombatants. The Army still watches the line between North Korea and South Korea. Scattered around the world, men and women in uniform are situated between rocks and hard places. Often, they end up helping Americans be rescued from their own stupidity in ways that never make the news.
These are our future veterans, and we should keep them in mind today.
Then, as we looked this past week at the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we should consider the men and women who made that happen. It was the men and women who rotated to Europe for 60 days stints, facing down the massive Red Army. It was the men who went to sea for months, playing hide-and-seek with weapons that said to our enemies “you may hit our homes, but you will pay.” There are those who hauled food to Berlin during The Airlift. Those who fought the Cold War by fighting, seemingly futilely, in Vietnam—a war that we often think of as a failure, but what did it show? That America would keep on, even in the face of setbacks.
These are our living veterans, and we should keep them in mind today.
Turning our eyes to our freedom, our ability to vote to peacefully change governments. Our right to complain about our government. All of these were secured by veterans. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that statesmen and politicians made it happen by what they wrote. It was the soldiers and sailors who died for it.
These are our deceased veterans, and we must remember the cost they paid.
All of these veterans are supported by another critical group. They have families. Parents, spouses, siblings, children, friends. These are absolutely necessary. And we cannot forget it.
It is a great blessing to not have to think about national defense every day, but we should never be so self-absorbed that we do. Remember the cost.