LOS ANGELES, November 11, 2011―Let freedom ring. Today, 11-11-11, is the day when America celebrates its veterans. Flags will fly high, salutes and other gestures of honor will be displayed, and Lee Greenwood’s “God bless the USA” will be even more meaningful than usual.
So many civilians wonder what they can do to help honor our troops. The way to learn what any group of people wants is to ask them. Then after asking them, listen. Hear them and listen, and you’ll know what they want.
You will hear a lot of things, but one answer will ring through again and again: The extraordinary men and women in our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and National Guard want their service and sacrifice to be appreciated.
They don’t expect us civilians to do what they do. They don’t even expect us to understand what they do. All they want is for us to have their backs the way they have ours.
When you see a veteran, just say “Thank you, and welcome home.”
This may seem cliche to some, but not to the soldiers receiving the greetings. There are Vietnam Veterans alive today who were spat upon when they came home. Welcoming them home today is not too late. Do it. Some of them will cry, but late is absolutely better than never.
So to brave men like John McCain, Orson Swindle, and Bud Day, thank you and welcome home.
Those men are famous, but most veterans are anonymous, their service unknown even to their communities. Most people don’t know my father. He does not talk about his experiences, so his private life remains just that. He is a Vietnam veteran, although in a non-combat role.
As he says, between being a Holocaust survivor and a schoolteacher in Brooklyn, he already experienced two combat zones. No man should be shot at in three different continents, so my dad was lucky enough not to have that one extra burden.
My dad worries that too many civilians have lost the fire and steel that kept this country strong and safe. From World War II through 9/11 and the War on Terror, Americans have always risen to the challenges of the day.
Yet now Americans are war weary.
Soldiers do not have that luxury. There is no rest for the weary. There is only eternal vigilance. So wherever Americans are politically, it is vital that we remember what matters most.
When we hug our loved ones, we are holding those we cherish most. We pray for them at night, and ask God to look after them and us. We often thank God that we are Americans, and that we enjoy blessings of freedom and liberty.
We didn’t gain them by accident. We are free because for over 235 years, Americans of all races and creeds fought, bled, and in many cases died for this noble experiment that Ronald Reagan called a “Shining city on a hill.”
So on this 11-11-11, before getting to the pot roast and apple-pie, just offer a moment of gratitude for those who do so much and ask so little. It is because of those people putting their lives on the line that this nation remains “America, the beautiful.”
To all who are currently serving, have served, or will be serving, you don’t hear it enough. So here it is again.
God bless America. God bless our troops, and veterans everywhere.
Thank you. Thank you, and welcome home.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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To all Troops, veterans and active, those that gave their lives and the families that support them, Communities @WashingtonTimes.com thanks you.
- Vets returning home (Image: Associated Press)
- Vets returning home (Image: Associated Press)
- A Marine carry team carries the transfer case containing the remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Ronald D. Freeman of Tampa, Fla., upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del. on Saturday.
- Members of the New York Army National Guard’s 206th Military Police Company wade into a crowd of well-wishers as they return to home station at New York State Division of Military
- In 1974, RN commemorated the first anniversary of the last troop’s return home from Vietnam, now known as Vietnam Veterans Day (Image: Associated Press)
- A sailor comes home after giving the ultimate sacrifice (Image: Associated Press)
- US Marines, Army, Airforce, Navy and Coast Guard Color Guard (Image: Associated Press)
- U.S. Marine helicopters leave troops into suspected Viet Cong area during full fledged heliborne assault operation by U.S. Marines near Da Nang, South Vietnam, on April 29, 1965. (AP Photo)
- Marines in Vietnam (Undated) (Image: Associated Press)
- The casket of Vietnam war-era Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas W. Fritsch is carried by an honor guard from St. John Roman Catholic Church to an awaiting hearse in Cromwell, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005. Fritsch was killed in 1968 in a fierce battle near the Laos-Vietnam border with his remains just returned along with 11 other service men after 37 years. Steve Miller/Associated Press
- Vietnam Vets get long overdue welcome home (Image: Associated Press)
- The super transport ship, General W.P. Richardson, docked in New York, with veterans of the European war cheering on June 7, 1945. Many soldiers were veterans of the African campaign, Salerno, Anzio, Cassino and the winter warfare in Italy's mountains. (AP Photo/Tony Camerano)
- WWII veterans are met by red, white and blue balloons at McGhee Tyson Airport upon their return from Washington on HonorAir Knoxville's second flight to the World War II National Memorial. (Image: Associated Press)
- Korean War veterans returning (1951) (Image: Associated Press)
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