As an author of a series of novels that are set in the World War II years, I have researched a lot about the time period. I wonder how people survived the horrors war from hunger to torture. Today, war is so often glorified in movies and video games that it really sickens me. In these media a hero marches in, drops a few bombs, and the war or game is over. Once in a while, movies like “Saving Private Ryan” attempt to show the “real” experience. Even though the makers of this movie might have gotten the graphics right to show the true experience of being an infantryman, we don’t smell the sulfur of the bombs; we don’t feel the pain of the ear-piercing sounds and the fear that shakes a person to the core; and most of all, we don’t see the mangled friends that stare ahead in death.
On November 11th every year, I wonder how many of us truly even give a passing thought of the sacrifices military men and woman have made through the years, so the rest of us Americans can live in a country where we have a freedom which is available nowhere else in the world.
Yeah, we have an Congress who has been sitting on its hands for four years. We have violence in our streets. We have mentally ill boys shooting up public places. We have people going hungry. We don’t have enough jobs. Our educational system has suffered through the years. America is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
What we have in this country that our veterans have protected is our way of life–warts and all. We can disagree with the government and not fear we will be put in jail. In fact, comedians on the late shows have made a living of making fun of our leaders. Where else in the world does that happen? We can live where we can afford to live. We believe if a person wants to succeed, all it takes is dedication and hard work to make the dream happen. We have the freedom to think out of the box and the whole world looks to our innovation.
So when you see a person dressed in a military uniform today, be sure and thank them for their service. If you have a veteran in your family, call them and tell them how you feel about their sacrifices. And if you have a chance, take a walk through a cemetery and notice all the American flags that fly on the graves of people who have served and passed. Don’t let the day go by without any recognition. That’s your duty.