Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day, 2011

Today is the day we honor those who put their lives on the line for our country and freedom.  They’re the ones who came back, who lived to tell the tale.  They’re the ones we get to thank in person.  This is an interesting day, because it’s November 11, 2011.  The eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year.

Some of them may be missing an arm or a leg.  Others are whole on the outside, but haunted on the inside with memories of the brothers and sisters-in-arms they left behind.  To the surviving veterans, those who didn’t return are the true heroes.

Nevertheless, we owe them our gratitude for all the freedoms we enjoy – and are throwing away carelessly.  They are generally a diffident group.  They would much rather shut the door on the ugly memories of battle – the rain of bullets, the exploding grenades, the blood and the gore.  The K-rations.

We honor this holiday to remind ourselves and our children of the price of freedom.  Some must live to return to remind us.  Nothing need be said about battles and long marches.  A hug, if it’s someone you know, will do.  A thank-you will suffice to the veteran on the street.

We owe them that much at least, as well as a free country to which veterans can return after the war is over.  They’ve done the hard part.  The least we can do is stand up for the conservative values the U.S. Constitution enumerates, protect those who would tinker with it, and defend it from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Too bad all those who didn’t vote on Tuesday – especially in New Jersey – didn’t think of that when they decided they had something better to do than go to the polls, or that the elections weren’t important.  The right to vote was important enough for our men and women in the armed forces to risk their lives defending.

My mother, the bus driver, on a trip back from Florida up I-95 years ago, was on the CB with some yokel truck driver bashing the United States of America.

“Listen!” she cried.  “My cousin was a U.S. Marine who fought on Iwo Jima and survived.  He still has the bullet holes in him.  He told us how so many men died on that miserable island.  They fought to get that flag up there, and then they still fought on for months after that, dying by the hundreds.  They died for you so you can trash our country on this radio.  And do you want to know something?  You weren’t worth it.”

Hoo-rah, Cousin Frankie (he died some years ago)!  Hoo-rah Dad (Army) and Uncles Arthur (Army – he’s still alive) and Tom (Navy)!  Hoo-rah to my brother’s friend, Dave (Army)!  Hoo-rah, Mom!  Hoo-rah to all our veterans in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Merchant Marines.  We haven’t forgotten you and we won’t ever forget you.  


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