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Never forget our veterans

Last updated on November 11, 2022

Image: PV Bella

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields. (John McCrae)

In 1918, World War I ended on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” The guns were silenced.

Armistice Day was set aside to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice during that conflict. In 1954, November 11th was renamed Veterans Day to commemorate the veterans of all wars.

Today, we commemorate our veterans. The men and women who served, sacrificed, bled, and died for our country. They upheld the concept of duty, honor, and country. Many, too many, lay forgotten in the silent gardens of stone. Cold, moldering, unforgiving stone. 

They marched off to fight wars the politicians waged. They went where they were told to go. They arrived when they were supposed to arrive. They did what they were supposed to do when they got there. They came home. Some healthy and alive. Some maimed and scarred, physically and mentally. Some in flag-draped coffins. Many lay in the places they fell. Some are still missing.

They were sons and daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, fathers, mothers, friends, workmates, and neighbors.

Count all the crosses and count all the tears
These are the losses and sad souvenirs;
This devastation once was a nation
So fall the dice, how high is the price
There in the distancе a flag I can see
Scorched and in ribbons but whose can it be;
How еnds the story, whose is the glory
                                     Ask if we dare our comrades out there who sleep
(A Soldiers Story/Ennio Morricone)

My dad, most of my uncles, and the men in our circle were WWII veterans. They did not talk about the war except for the places, some considered exotic, they served. They were proud of their service.

There are the Korean, Viet Nam, and War on Terror veterans. They too served with honor. Aside from the wars, many served in the far-flung corners of the world, away from their families.

When the bugle calls for Boots and Saddles, military people do not ask why. They do not care about politics. They go. That is their duty. That is the oath they swore.  

We owe a debt of gratitude to all who served our country. Those known and unknown. Those living and dead. We owe our veterans a debt that can never be repaid. We are obligated and duty-bound to our veterans to ensure they get all the benefits and services they earned. If there was ever a cause for political and social activism, it should be on behalf of our veterans.

They served our country.

They served with honor.

Let us never forget.

Let us be eternally grateful.

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