A Tribute to Veterans
Today, I want to pay tribute to all the Veterans – those who have served and those who are currently serving. How do we measure the value of what these brave people have done? We know what we believe they have accomplished but what we don’t know is this – what would our lives be like if they had not fought for us? It is difficult to place value on the unknown, but, in this case, I believe it is far more than we can calculate.
November 11 is Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor all veterans whether living or dead. History.com tells the history of this day:
‘Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.”
Keepers of the Peace
War is part of the human condition, and in America, all we are and have was initially obtained through war. Since the founding of America, we have become keepers for people and nations who seek to have the freedom we enjoy. We are also keepers of our own heritage, fighting in far off lands to keep our enemies at bay. Our veterans are a barrier between freedom and tyranny. Men and women fight together to free others and maintain our freedom.
According to PBS Newshour, over 1.1 million Americans have been killed in all the wars the United States participated in. That is astounding since that only covers the years since the Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775 – 244 years. In context of the thousands of years humans have been at war with each other, that is a short time. The deadliest war was the Civil War with 498,332 fatalities – almost half of the total number.
Those numbers do not take into account all who were wounded and/or disabled in those wars – thousands and thousands more. From 1775 to 1991, 41,892,128 Americans served in all wars. From 1991 till now, over 2.77 million have served. That is over 43 million Americans who have worked to protect us and many others.
A Tribute to My Late Husband – Don – A Vietnam Vet
I’m sure most of us have become aware of the heavy toll war takes on those veterans. My late husband, Don Wright, was a Vietnam veteran who volunteered for the Army at the age of 17. In 1968, at the age of 19, he went to Vietnam. He was an all American guy who believed it was his duty to protect and defend his country. When he came home in 1969, none of us, including him, realized what the terrible and invisible mental, emotional, and physical toll would be. He silently returned his role as husband and father, not talking about what he had seen and done. He was a helicopter crew chief in a unit that recovered the dead and transported the wounded and so he saw terrible things, risking his life to save wounded soldiers while taking fire. But he didn’t talk about it until much later in his life.
PTSD, anger, diabetes, hearing loss, and multiple disabilities plagued him more and more as he grew older. At last, he began to speak about some of it, got counseling for the PTSD, and found some level of peace with all of it just a couple of years prior to his death. What happened to him has happened to thousands. Thankfully, the responses and available assistance have increased tremendously since that time.
Some are terribly disabled and scarred mentally and physically. Yet, each one proudly salutes the flag and most say they would do it again. Why? Because they believe in what they did and so do we. Unfortunately for Don, the country gave him a very poor welcome back. However, that has changed and today’s veterans receive the respect, love, and help they deserve.
Everyone Who Served Matters
Most of you probably have someone in your family or close to you who has served or has a close relative who has served. While not all have been traumatized by the ravages of war, all have been affected in some way and each one played an important part. Those who stayed here in the States or behind the front lines are equally important. Every position in the military is necessary and important so no role should ever be downplayed.
War is a terrible thing. Yet, we all recognize there are times when we must stand against evil. Our veterans are the ones who willingly went so that the rest of us did not have to and we should be thankful and grateful to them today and every day.
Today, I honor my husband, Don Wright, for his brave service to protect his family and this great country. I honor all of the Veterans who have done the same. Men and women who, while hating war, understand the greater value of freedom and peace. Christians recognize the great spiritual dichotomy that to live you must die. The natural realm holds those same dichotomies. To preserve peace, you must sometimes go to war.