American veterans represent a unique tradition

Photo: wikicommons

WASHINGTON, November 11, 2013 — America’s fighting forces still represent a tradition of commitment to protecting freedom as an idea and a reality. “The few” and “the proud” is more than a slogan for the Marines.

At the beginning of the American Revolution, the Massachusetts Minutemen gathered in Lexington, instigating the “shot heard ‘round the world” in defiance of Great Britain. A handful of Cortés’s Castilians took down the Aztec’s empire in 1518. King Leonidas’s 300 Greek Spartans made history in 480 BC in the Battle of Thermopylae against the hordes of slaves fighting for the Persian Prince Xerxes.

Only a few people in the history of the world have shared the experiences the people in these examples shared. They represent what historian Larry Schweikart, A Patriot’s History of the United States, calls a “western way of combat that emphasized group cohesion of free citizens.”

The notion of individual freedom and civic rights expanded in this country as it never had anywhere else. Without freedom, people cannot truly lay down their lives for an idea. The sacrifices of our men and women are very personal. Their numbers form an important part of the tapestry of our American story. Let’s pause, remember, and give thanks this Veteran’s Day.  

Here are numbers from recent U.S. conflicts:

World War II: 16 million served; one million wounded or dead.

Korean War: 5 million served; 136 thousand wounded or dead.

Vietnam War: 8 million served; 210 thousand wounded or dead.

Persian Gulf War: 2 million served; 570 wounded or dead.

Iraq/Afghanistan Wars: 2.5 million served; 57,000 wounded or dead.

Check locally for where and how you can honor veterans today, but don’t stop there. The opportunities to serve them are many throughout the year.

Carla Garrison follows current events with one eye on history and the other on the future.  Her goal is to encourage people to know the truth and use it as a call to personal action. Read more Truth be Told.

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Carla Garrison

Carla writes about current issues and events with an aim toward telling the truth, using the writings of great thinkers, dead and living, as well as common sense.

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