As all of you know, today is when our country pauses to honor our Veterans. This website has a list of all those US soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. My thoughts go out to all those families, as well as those families who have lost loved ones in any conflict throughout time. I am truly grateful to all those who have put their life on the line for this country – thank you for all you have done and continue to do for this country and for the world. Today, we pause to honor all 23.2 million living Vets in this country (according to the US Census Bureau) as well as all those who are no longer with us.
President Kennedy once said that “War will exist until the distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today.” However, too often we forget that what President Kennedy meant was for the reputation to be equal. We don’t diminish one in order to build the other up. No matter how you feel about wars in general or, more specifically, the current ones we are engaged in, it doesn’t change the fact that those men and women who serve in the armed forces are worthy of our respect and admiration. Disagree with the war, but support the warrior. However, the point that Kennedy was making is that people who choose to serve their country in other ways – by standing up for what they believe in – are also deserving of our respect. I would extend this to include people who serve by volunteering, working with people in need etc…)
Remember, Veterans Day was marked for the first time in 1919, as a way to, not only honor those who have served, but also to celebrate peace. Today, I celebrate and honor all those who have put their life on the line to help this country and secure a strong and peaceful future for our children. I also recognize the police officers, teachers, fire fighters, volunteers, public servants, doctors and nurses, community leaders, fundraisers, society-builders, those who fight mal-nutrition and all others who have also dedicated themselves to leaving the world a better place than they found it. Thank you to both groups from the bottom of my heart.