November 11th, Veteran's Day, is a day that all of us who wore the uniform understand and revere. For many of today's citizens however, it is just a day off work, or a day when there is no school. With the number of Veterans rapidly decreasing, we need to sit back and reflect on just what Veteran's Day means. It is a day to remember that we, as American citizens, live in a country like no other. We enjoy many freedoms, and often forget the price that was paid for those freedoms.
Like some of you and millions of others in this great nation, I am proud to have served in her Armed Forces. We have protected our right to take the time necessary to improve as a nation, and as a society, and have also protected that right for many people in many nations. Only a small percentage of us have served, are serving, or will serve in the armed forces, but we carry the banner of hope and the right to be free for all who believe in the rights of a people to learn together.
As we celebrate the events around Veteran's Day like parades, massing of the flags, and other events, let us take the time to be sure that we educate the youngsters of today about the real meaning of Veteran's Day and its symbols and freedoms. To me, as it is to most of you, the Stars and Stripes is a symbol of our commitment to stand together for freedom.
In this day of high-speed graphics and visual clutter, we need to remind the younger generation of the symbolic force of the American Flag. Hark back with me to an earlier time before photographs, before television, radio, and even newspapers. The way we knew that a nation was still standing was to see her flag still flying. In those days, armies and navies carried flags at the front when they were marching or attacking, and on the flagpole in the center of the camp in the field or the fort, or base, where they were occupying. The flag meant the unit was still fighting. It meant that the nation was alive and well.
As we attend the many events this weekend, OBA encourages every citizen with young children to bring them to participate in the event. We need for them to feel the way we feel about what the flag, and those who carry her, mean to us. Our children have only recently felt the threat of those who want to rule the world for us. They need to see that we still stand together: that we will serve each other and that we express our commitment and resolve by raising that flag. They need to feel part of our community of faith and freedom. After all, they will be the ones who have to carry that flag tomorrow. They need to know that if we stand together we can follow those who have carried our flag in the past and can continue our experiment in freedom and democracy.
Have a great Veteran's Day. God Bless America!!
USAF (Ret.) 23rd TASS
"God bless all those who have, will or are going in harms way on behalf of us all. It is the true spirit of America that these people are willing to stand and deliver on behalf of those of us who enjoy the fruits of freedom."
- Jim "Grump" Hodgson, USMC (Ret.) VMO-2
"Many people have asked me if my service in Vietnam was worth it. On two occasions after putting in an air strike for ground units that were in danger of being overrun, the ground radiomen thanked us for saving their lives. I remember both occasions as if they were yesterday. Because of instances like these, I tell them yes. I joined the military to serve my country, saving people made my tours worth it."
- Tim Sikorski, USN (Ret.) VAL-4
"Combat taught me I would kill for my country and die for my friends."
- Jim "Scavenger" Dearborn, USMC (Ret.) VMO-2,4