Harbison: Thanks to Our Veterans!

Jim Harbison
We should all take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the veterans that for more than 250 years have been defending this Nation from “all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Throughout our history they have unselfishly offered not only their service and their lives, but also their loyalty and dedication to preserving our unique form of government. The strength of this nation is built on the blood of its patriots and while all veterans may not be heroes they are all patriots.
The United States, including all its faults, is still the best country in the world thanks to the dedication and sacrifices of the past and present members of the U.S. military. They have been willing to risk their own lives to secure the freedoms that the rest of this nation enjoys. Military service requires individuals to suspend or sacrifice some of the normal rights and freedoms enjoyed by their civilian counterparts. For example, they do not have the same levels of freedom of speech as evidenced by the recent firing of General Stanley McCrystal. There are also restrictions on many activities or freedoms that do not apply to non-military personnel. These restrictions and depravations still do not discourage their service or dedication to preserving our Nation.
Often living in unfathomable circumstances, frequently without the basic necessities, routinely working 24-hours per day in the most inhospitable environments, they continue to serve the people of this great country. They have experienced situations and the most traumatic events that are beyond the imagination of most of us. Too many of them live with the daily horror of seeing their friends and companions suffer devastating injuries and horrific death. Many suffer from life changing wounds and yet our society fails to address their needs. Unfortunately many suffer the indignity of inadequate or even denial of promised medical care. Too often they have difficulty in finding a job and some employers are apprehensive about hiring a veteran because of potential post traumatic stress issues. Most of us cannot even begin to understand what they experienced or the nightmares that may haunt them forever. Veterans often experience long periods of separation from their families, put off getting married or having children, or going to college. In many cases their lives are put on “hold” until they complete their military service.
They return home to America only to find their government indifferent and the promises made by the Congress are worthless. They did not challenge or question the government’s commitment to them when it sent them to foreign or hostile places. Perhaps it was because they believed their leaders were men of integrity and therefore did not doubt the promises made by the various government officials and agencies. Far too often they are either ignored or undermined, by the very Congress that sent them into harm’s way in the first place. Some in society choose to punish the veterans for the unpopular decisions made by Congress to engage in wars. We need to acknowledge that the veteran was a servant of this nation. Remember war is “Political Power by Force” and the veterans had no choice in the war they would be forced to fight - that decision was made by Congress. We owe an eternal debt to our veterans for their constant vigil and commitment to preserve our freedoms and maintain our form of government. Since the founding of this country our veterans have always put the Nation ahead of their own needs and have sacrificed their lives and fortunes to secure its future. Be sure to thank all the veterans you know and let them know you appreciate their service.



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