During war, it’s always Veterans Day
In time of war , every day should be Veterans Day. Although today is a holiday marked on the calendar, there is no escaping the truth that American service men and women are putting their lives on the line to defend the fundamental tenets of democracy – individual rights, freedom to choose your leaders, and fair and equal justice.
With this war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, comes an even more basic element: life.
When terrorists attacked on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001, a war Americans didn’t want and didn’t expect was begun. The idea behind the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq was to take the battle to the aggressors, to not sit idly by while innocents were slaughtered, to make the world a safer place by swift and terrible retribution.
Many of the goals have been achieved. Brutal regimes have been ousted in both countries, and dozens of the terrorists who helped plan and carry out bloody missions around the globe have been captured – or did not live to see their prisons.
Many of the goals have not yet been achieved, such as capturing Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and some may never be possible, such as eradicating terrorism.
While the political and moral debate plays out on an international stage, one fact stands out clear and true: Members of the American fighting forces have been asked to carry out the missions.
And they have responded, from the career professional soldiers to the reservists willing to leave their families behind. Many of have lost their lives. A clear end is not yet in sight.
There will be ample opportunities today to stop and thank a veteran, from those fighting today’s wars to those who fought the battles of the past. Take time to do so. And then do it tomorrow, as well. And the day after that ….