Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day: The Living Memorial

Shared an adult libation recently with a good friend, a former combat pilot who flew WWII and Korea, and another good fellow who served as an air controller in the latter conflict. The subject of the moment centered in some of the military memorials they visited on different swings around the country: The D-Day Museum, as it was originally called, in New Orleans; the WWI institution in Kansas City; the WWII Memorial and Vietnam wall in D.C.

Great places, those and others too numerous to recount. But it seemed to me that, and this was my words to them: "You can see the greatest memorial to our veterans every day, without leaving your hometown, in the nation around you, the citizens here and the hope and promise still represented by our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution."

We are the embodiment of what our service women and men have fought to protect, a living, breathing memorial to the successes of their service.

Hundreds of millions of living memorials, their homes, their jobs and businesses, their lives and freedoms, memorialized daily in their abilities to go about their daily lives and benefit from the liberties promised by those ingenious documents and won by the blood, sweat, tears and lives of the women and men who served to assure it all continues.

From the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than reuse a word getting threadbare with use and try to label every one a hero, let me raise my toast with a greater word and thank them as true patriots -- patriots willing to serve, whether in a rifle company or a supply unit, whether on the front lines of a war with no lines, or in the support offices back in the States.

As the events of the last week so tragically demonstrated, all can be in harms way on any given day. We can, it seems to me, honor them best by remembering the ideals of our nation, by living and supporting those beliefs, by working toward the common good and the guarantee that we all benefit and enjoy those promises.

Those of us who do not -- those who act to impose their own view of America on those who disagree, to those who would enforce one narrow view of the world or their beliefs on others with different visions of the same freedoms -- dishonor the efforts of those who served and they deserve none of what they receive, least of all any label approaching "patriot."

To the True Patriots among us, those who serve and those who serve to support the promise of our nation, one and all of us, and the living memorials that are America's citizens and the country they endow: Thank you all.

-- Dave


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