Monday, November 11, 2013

All gave some... some gave all...

My parents were at the end of that greatest generation who were called to sacrifice at home and to fight on beaches of death and rivers of blood across Europe and the Pacific.  I am forever indebted to their example of faithfulness, their giving spirit, and their sense of personal responsibility.  On this Veterans' Day I cannot but also honor those who follow them in service to country and in defense of liberty.  We can all debate the policies of those who sent them here and there but none of us can doubt or diminish the noble character of those who have heard the call and served faithfully.  All gave some... time from their lives, memories both to treasure and haunt them, images that they wished they had never seen but cannot be erased from their minds and hearts.  From the World Wars to the small locales of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Afghanistan, I honor them for their sacrificial service for me and all who call themselves Americans.  But some gave all.  From the celebrated Flanders fields and row upon row of white stones to the anonymous trenches in which the lost remains of soldiers lay still to the cemeteries dotted with flags across America and the veterans who are wheeled there, limp in pain, and walk the slow deliberate steps of age and wounds, we honor those who served us with their lives.

My father has been a member of the American Legion for more than 68 years and today he will stand at the park near the auditorium in town to be part of the ancient rite of citizenship, memory, and patriotism on Veterans' Day.  Thank you, Dad, and all who served through wars just and causes questionable, displaying unwavering character and duty, these patriots...  Thank you, men and women who proudly still wear the uniform of our nation -- far from home and family...  Thank you for your service.  All gave some... some gave all... It seems so little but let me not forget to say, Thank you!

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