Why we can safely do what we are free to do

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

Every year, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, America pauses to honor our nation’s great veterans. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of fighting in World War I. The armistice accord happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918 and this year we celebrate the centennial anniversary of one of the great dates in history. Unfortunately, 100 years later we all know the “war to end all wars,” as WWI was known, didn’t accomplish that goal, and our nation has had the continued necessity for the military service of her men and women in every generation since.

Our great nation, for all of her history, has been full of citizens that are brought together by our overflowing and deep seeded patriotism. As a part of that patriotism, we should all take the time to honor and thank those who have protected our freedom by serving in the Army, Navy, Airforce, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Each and every one of these individuals are the real life heroes of our past and present.

Because of what these great men and women do, and have done, we are afforded the right to go about our merry way under the blanket of safety and freedom they provide. The blankets of protection placed upon our nation, and numerous other countries around the world, are sewn together by each and every service member. Their sacrifices and service are what ensure our safety and freedom.

The courage and valor demonstrated by those currently serving, and those veterans who have served, deserve our utmost gratitude and respect. The freedoms and liberties that we cherish most in America would not be possible without every single one of them. We could not be the greatest country in the world without having the greatest military the world has every known. And it’s our service members that make our military the most respected force on Earth.

Our veterans come from all walks of life and serve in so many different capacities. There are far more than just the men and women who served in combat, they are those who run communications, work in military hospitals and protect us citizens here at home. They bring peace to wartorn countries and protect the innocent from harm when they cannot protect themselves. They end oppression and liberate nations from evil tyranny and ruthless violence. In short, veterans leave the safety of their homes and volunteer to stand-up against terrible violence, cruelty and the worst sides of humanity.

Servicemen and women sacrifice more than we can imagine, and face challenges long after they return from combat or conclude their military service. The mental and emotional stresses of war can affect even the strongest of soldiers and yet they step-up and meet all challenges head-on so that you and I don’t have to. As we all commemorate Veterans Day, remember that the idea of democracy and being free is always worth fighting for, and these men and women answer the call.

 In our current day and time, fueled by many misguided beliefs, we place the wrong so-called heroes on pedestals. The true heroes of our generation, and generations past, are those individuals that have answered the call to serve and proudly stand a post and say no one is going to harm you — not today — and not on my watch.

To every veteran, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I leave you with the unattributed quote I think of every time I see Old Glory softly waving in the wind — “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it”