Nov. 11 is the country’s annual holiday honoring the men and women who served in our military protecting and defending our United States of America.
Veterans made a conscious decision to serve our country. They were willing to serve for many different reasons. For many it was as simple as “my country called and I came.” Many volunteered for service.
Older draft-era veterans who could not avoid the draft did have the option to instead skip to Canada or take similar steps to avoid serving. But those actions required a real personal struggle that came with its own set of consequences.
The media and the public continue to be captivated by stories about American veterans and their experiences as soldiers. Unfortunately most of the negative stories are clichés, personal opinions and partial truths focusing on the worst. Too often veterans have been painted with the broad brush of clichés and stereotypes, while the vast majority of veterans – whether volunteers or those drafted – served honorably to defend freedom while suffering in many different ways.
It is fashionable to just say that war is wrong, that it is one of the most despicable and horrible of human endeavors, and that it should be avoided at any cost. We find this opinion pervades nearly all recent literature about war, most media and films and television coverage. Yes, war is horrible. Those who have fought in one know that personally.
However, veterans understand that war is a check on tyranny, and that tyranny unchecked has given the world its Hitlers and Stalins. In war there remains an element of hope. Under tyranny all hope is destroyed.
The freedoms that Americans are able to enjoy are a result of the veterans who served our country. A heartfelt thank you should go out to all of them from each and every American.
I served as a combat medic in Vietnam. I definitely would not want to have to do it again, however it is the single most defining event of my life.