Veterans Day 2014
Among those who live in the United States of America exists a vast diversity within the population. Often referred to as the “melting pot” of the world, one would be hard pressed to discover two unrelated individuals with the same heritage. In all reality, most of us who live and work in this nation have little in common with our next door neighbors. In such circumstances, how could such a group of people come together in a way to call this piece of tectonic plate our own. Can a nation be conceived and flourish under such daunting odds?
The answer is yes, though not without incredible difficulty. The United States is proof it can be accomplished. This nation, since it’s birth has pushed through the odds, the struggles and the challenges, some to it’s very existence. She has been beaten, bloodied, and on one knee, but she has never fallen. As a result, we now live in one of the most prosperous, secure and strongest nations in the history of mankind. Yet how has the United States succeeded when so many others have failed?
The answer is because here in this great nation the full potential of man has been unleashed to a degree never before seen in the history of the world. We have the ability to live and create anything we dream of in peace and freedom. The results of this ability are many; first in flight, men on the moon, the cell phone, the microprocessor, the space shuttle, Skylab, the sound barrier, the list goes on. The accomplishments of this country, of us as a people, are second to none.
However, there is one key ingredient required for this concoction to yield the results we see today.
In order for prosperity to flourish, it must be protected from those who would plunder and bleed it dry. Thomas Jefferson wrote of the Blessings of Liberty to be secured for ourselves and our posterity. The price of this simple idea, on which an entire nation was created, is far greater than those simple words could ever describe.
Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for another
The Blessing of Liberty is, in fact, the simple truth that since our country’s birth there have been men, women, Americans willing to answer the call of freedom. When that call has come they have said goodbye to their families, turned their faces towards those that would do us harm and marched with hearts of courage to battle the most determined and fiercest of enemies. This is the nature of the United States Fighting Person, the Veteran. This highly trained, exceptionally motivated and superbly well equipped individual is the most potent weapon in history. Around the world they have fought, man and machine locked in a desperate struggle for life and liberty in hostile skies and foreign lands…. fighting not just for duty or country, but often to free the innocent from tyranny, for the fate of an entire planet of strangers they will never know. They have done so knowing the price of securing those Blessings will require them to give of themselves greatly and may demand even the highest cost they can pay… their ultimate sacrifice. On countless battlefields on almost every continent and in every ocean, the dirt and water has been red with the the blood of those men and women, our countrymen, who were willing to give their entire future on this Earth not only for our liberty, but the liberty of millions of people, in countries not their own, for those whom they will never know. During battles so violent, so bloody, so savage so as to challenge Hell itself for sheer horror, these Americans advanced through the shrapnel, smoke and fire and proved what the best of what we are is made of. With every obstacle before them, each has been met with determination and courage. The embodiment of the American spirit wears a United States military uniform. Such is the nature of these Heroes.
The potential that is this nation only exists because of the Veteran. It is the Veteran only who has stared death in the eye to secure this potential by guaranteed liberty. The peace and prosperity enjoyed here is without question the most costly possession we have ever paid for as a nation. It is a price that must always be paid, again and again. Such is the nature of liberty- as long as there are those who would attempt to bankrupt us of our potential, there must be someone willing and able to defend it.
We must always remember, and must always, with great humility, give thanks to those who have and those who continue to serve thus ensuring our nation and freedom shall not perish from the Earth.
Thus, today, Veterans Day, we must restore our respect and renew our gratitude for all of the Americans who have secured those Blessings that we enjoy. Our veterans, though immortalized by history, are nonetheless mortal in body. They are the most precious of our national treasures, and the most fleeting. Thus it is our turn to give thanks to those who have answered the final roll call, and those that are still with us.
Veterans, we thank you.