Thank You.

Heart is heart, selflessness is selflessness, and sacrifice is sacrifice. Looking at photographs spanning nearly a century, from the outbreak of World War I to the current Afghani and Iraqi fronts to the Global War on Terror, it is impossible not to notice the similarity.

Sure, the vehicles and aircraft and equipment and weaponry and uniforms may have changed, but the people haven’t. Bravery, courage, principles and valor know no difference between an M1 Garand, BAR, M16 or M4. Jet propulsion and smart bombs and stealth technology cannot make any American man or woman more or less brave, more or less altruistic, more or less prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that people like you and like me may draw another breath in freedom.

Whether it be an eighteen-year-old infantryman heading off to the hedgerows of northern France, or a young servicewoman inspiring skittish girls younger than themselves, staring at them from behind the constraints of culture and hijab, the same qualities shine through.

I think of and pray for them often, our fighting men and women of today and days gone by, and just as often I think of and pray for their families left behind, waiting nervously at home for news from the front abroad, whether that front be in Europe, the Pacific, Iraq, Afghanistan or points between. The United States of America and everyone in it owes everything to our veterans. Given the nature of the threats they’ve vanquished, it’s fair to say that the world owes everything as well. It takes a special kind of hero to put their lives on the line for freedom, and it takes special kinds of people to support that hero. To me, there is nothing more noble than someone willing to give of themselves for the safety, security and greater good of others.

“If there be trouble,” wrote Thomas Paine in the bitter cold of December 1776, “let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

It is for that purpose, that ultimate altruism, that hundreds of thousands of men and women have fought and died in an American uniform, and millions more behind them provide the necessary support and infrastructure so essential to the business of championing and maintaining liberty. One day out of the entire year, dedicated to saying “thank you” and offering appreciation, simply is not enough.

So, on this day just like every other day, to our veterans I offer a heartfelt “thank you.”

I hope you’ll think of those faces staring back from decades of fighting for freedom and do the same.

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Comments

  1. Courtney says:

    In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
    Veterans Day Quotes by Mark Twain

  2. ENDED FASCISM says:

    Thanks, Dad, for kicking Hitler's ass in The Battle Of The Bulge and beyond.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this Jeff…it should be viewed by every American and it should be played during a joint session of Congress so that our elected officials can be reminded of WHO the heroes really are in our country. As I watched the memorial service for the victims of Fort Hood, it was incredibly heart-wrenching to realize how senseless these deaths and injuries were and how vulnerable our soldiers are no matter where they are…we think HOME is safe but there are those among us who would rob us of our security. Our government owes our military and our citizens their support in protecting us from ALL threats, internal and external. May God bless the families who have lost loved ones in the service of our country and guard and protect those who serve now. The Mark Twain quote is so appropriate…unfortunately, it would be difficult to find a true patriot in our government today. What a contrast some of these phoney Americans are compared to those in this video and to those who serve today!

  4. Still a Patriot says:

    Hi Jeff -

    I think our country has treated the veterans shamefully, for the most part. Pamela Geller had an article yesterday on her website about a lone veteran campaigning to keep a Veteran's Home open in L.A. & cited the number of homeless vets in L.A. No veteran should ever be homeless!!!

    Sometimes I think America does not deserve God's mercy. I pray that He will bless & help all the vets, troops & families.

    Susan

  5. Chuck in San Diego says:

    In observance of Veterans Day, I am posting some guidelines that Civilians can use to help educate themselves concerning Veterans Day. Veterans can help out where they should see fit in providing the suggested guidance.

    1) The next time you see an adult talking during the playing of the National Anthem … kick their ass.

    2) When you witness firsthand someone burning the American Flag in protest … kick their ass.

    3) Regardless of the rank they held while they served, pay the highest amount of respect to all veterans. If you see anyone doing otherwise, quietly pull them aside and explain how these Veterans fought for the very freedom they bask in every second. Enlighten them on the many sacrifices these Veterans made to make this Nation great. Then hold them down while a Disabled Veteran kicks their ass.

    4) If you were never in the military, DO NOT pretend that you were. Wearing battle dress uniforms (BDU's), telling others that you used to be "Special Forces," and collecting GI Joe memorabilia, might have been okay if you were still seven. Now, it will only make you look stupid and get your ass kicked.

    5) If you witness someone calling an enlisted Marine "Sir," stand back … a Marine will kick their ass.

    6) Next time you come across an Air Force member, do not ask them, "Do you fly a jet?" Not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot. Such ignorance deserves an ass kicking (children are exempt).

    7) Roseanne Barr's singing of the National Anthem is not a blooper … it was a disgrace and disrespectful. Laugh, and sooner or later your ass will get kicked.

    8) Next time Old Glory prances by during a parade, get on your damn feet and pay homage to her by placing your hand over your heart. Quietly thank the military member or veteran lucky enough to be carrying her … of course, failure to do either of those could earn you a severe ass kicking.

    9) What Jane Fonda did during the Vietnam War makes her the enemy. The proper word to describe her is "traitor." Just mention her nomination for "Woman of the Year" and get your ass kicked.

    10) Don't try to discuss politics with a military member or a veteran. We are Americans and we all bleed the same regardless of our party affiliation. Our Chain of Command, includes our commander in Chief. The President (for those who didn't know) is our CINC regardless of political party. We have no inside track on what happens inside those big important buildings where all those "representatives" meet. All we know is that when those civilian representatives screw up the situation, they call upon the military to go straighten it out. The military member might direct you to Oliver North. (I can see him kicking your ass already.)

    11) "Your mama wears combat boots" never made sense to me … stop saying it! If she did, she would most likely be a vet and probably kick your ass!

    12) Bin Laden and the Taliban are not communists, so stop saying "Let's go kill those Commie's!!!" And stop asking us where he is!!!! Crystal balls are not standard issue in the military. That reminds me … if you see anyone calling those damn psychic phone numbers; let me know, so I can go kick their ass.

    13) Bus Driver, Jar Head, Grunt, Swabbie etc, are terms of endearment we use describing each other. Unless you are a service member or vet, you have not earned the right to use them. Uttering such could get your ass kicked.

    14) Last but not least, whether or not you become a member of the military, support our troops and their families. Every Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and religious holiday that you enjoy with family and friends please remember that there are, literally, thousands of troops overseas wishing they could be with their families. Thank God for our military and the sacrifices they make every day. Without them, our country would get its ass kicked.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes it DOES pay to be in the military…..

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,573885,00.html?test=latestnews

  7. Gail B says:

    "The safest place in battle is behind a platoon of Marines."

    We have all seen bumper stickers and the magnetic ribbons that say, "Support Our Troops", so does anyone have an answer for why it has taken Obama/Soetoro a month or longer to make the decision to send the additional troops that General McChrystal requested and why he's sending 10,000 fewer than asked for?

    It's hard for me to think about the dangers that our military is subjected to. I have watched them report to deploy, and I've been at the airport when they returned. It's difficult for me to write about it because it makes me cry. For one of their own to open fire upon them at a military base on American soil is beyond the reaches of my comprehension.

    Oh, don't get me started! I just pray for their safety.

  8. Dee says:

    My uncle, who was never married and had no children, served in the US Navy for 20 yrs. He was a gunner's mate during WW II. I was given his Flight Log. In the back he of it he kept a diary. I was so surprised when I read it because he never told anyone in the family that he survived 3 crash landings. He had black outs following the crashes and he had listed all those fellow sailors who did not make it back. I copied the log and recently sent it to the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. I received a reply that they found it to be very interesting and that it will be permanently placed in their archives. He died in an automobile crash the year after his discharge. My son, husband, brother, father, cousin, and many uncles have all served our country. I am so proud of all of them. God bless our military and may they stay safe.

  9. Boston Blackie says:

    Great words, Chuck!
    To all who have ever put on the uniform to keep me free and safe, THANK YOU!!

  10. SC Sen. Jim DeMint says:

    In honor of Veterans Day, please take a minute to watch this video tribute to the more than 24 million veterans who have served our nation in the past and consider participating in the Red Cross' "Holiday Mail for Heroes" program to show support for the 1.4 million-plus men and women serving in uniform and defending our freedom today.

    Link to Veterans Day video tribute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KERr4emaM5A
    More info on "Holiday Mail for Heroes": http://www.redcross.org/holidaymail

    God Bless,
    Jim

  11. Gail B says:

    You had to make me cry, didn't you?!

    There are names of family and friends on memorial walls all over the country–there's even one here in Henry County, GA–who have fought and died for our freedom, safety, and Republic. We all know someone whose name is on one of those walls. What a remarkable, admirable bunch of men, no matter in which branch they serve.

    May God bless and protect our troops, and may God bless our nation.

    Thank you, those who have served, died, and are still serving. We are indebted to you and will be until the last day of our existence.

    And, President George W. Bush, thank you for caring about our military!

  12. Claudia says:

    a very hearty THANK YOU to all who have served, no matter where, when or how they did it, they served and protected me, my family and all those that I love or have loved in the past and will love in the future. For that I give you all a SPECIAL bow and a hat tip forever.

    I would wish that our resident in Office would have more respect for you and yours. I am sorely missing George W. Bush right now, because he clearly loved every Soldier, no matter what their branch of the service. He had a very special affinity with the men and women who protect our lives, our freedom and our liberty.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Although I never was part of a combat operation (I served my time during the final months of the Korean "Police Action" and then, after a year of schools, was stationed as an occupation trooper in Germany), I think often of the sheer guts of those who gave their lives willingly to serve their country. All those lives not lived out as the rest of us have been able to.

    I especially am awestruck by those men that were first off the landing crafts on D-day and those who parachuted in while it was still dark. Two of my close cousins were part of that airbourne assault and, thank God, they both survived and helped later to liberate German concentration camps.

    They deserve our eternal gratitude. They certainly have mine. Every year at this time I say aloud "Thank you, Dave Anderson. I remember you and the life you never got to live." Dave was a HS classmate of mine who was killed shortly after arriving in Korea in 1952.

    Then I try to imagine our current Commander-in-chief doing anything so selfless – something that required such courage and devotion to country – and I want to puke.

    Old Bob

  14. William A. Rose says:

    Great comments from all of you. I have had the honor of knowing two Congressional Medal of Honor winners. I worked with one of them.

    All those homeless vets could be taken care of. It's just a matter of willingness. I am presently trying to find a way to raise funds so that I can position myself to possibly make a difference in many people's lives. It takes money. Many of those vets need some kind of counseling and they really need hope and a sense of value and worth instilled in them. Our society has done a pitiful job of showing then they are valued and are of immense worth. As human beings, we are prone to self-destructive things. I've been there myself. Imagine if just 2500 people would give $20 a month to a "Family Fund". Just think what we could do for a homeless vet. A group of 10 men could buld a decent home every month. Get a vety off the streets and get him/her the help they need. This is something I could sure get behind. I have told Jeff my story. Were it not for an Aunt, I'd be homeless. She's older and unhealthy and when she passes, I will be unless something changes. I'm sorry folks. That was shameless.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Continental Congress '09 Opening Ceremony

    http://givemeliberty.org/CC2009/

    Awesome, inspiring, about time
    I wish I could be there
    God Bless America!!!

  16. Gail B says:

    From USA Survival:

    Tribute to America's Veterans

    "Those Honored Dead"
    "Why do you fly the flag today?"
    My Grandson wants to know.
    I fly it for the graveyards
    Where the countless crosses grow.

    I fly the flag for children
    Whose fathers are a name.
    A half-remembered memory
    of a face within a frame.

    I fly it for the families
    of sons and daughters lost.
    They know the price of liberty
    How terrible the cost!

    I fly the flag for veterans
    who lost their youth in blood.
    And saw their comrades slaughtered
    in the carnage and the mud.

    I fly it for the ones who marched
    In cadence off to war
    To close their eyes forever
    Upon some foreign shore.

    I fly the flag for grief poured out
    Upon a granite wall.
    The laying-on of hands that heals
    The scars within us all.

    I fly it for the sound of Taps—
    That melancholy tune
    That lays to rest those honored dead
    Who always die too soon.

    Copyright 1994 Marion G. Mahoney

    For America's Survival, Inc.

  17. Gail B says:

    It's about time!!!

    Sen. Lindsey Graham has been censured by the Charleston County Republican Party — in a unanimous vote — for being too liberal.

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/11/11/2124746.aspx

  18. Randy Wills says:

    I just read an AP article saying that Obama plans to reject ALL options for the war in Afghanistan presented to him by his "war council". Can you imagine the frustration of the military over his procrastination?

    How would you feel, out there where real bullets are coming at you, or the next step you take may set off an improvised explosive device, if not killing you then maiming you for life, while the Commander-in-Chief dawdles and asks for more data before he can make a decision.

    IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS SACRED, MR. PRESIDENT, IF YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF MAKING A DECISION, BRING THOSE TROOPS HOME.

    Randy

  19. Boston Blackie says:

    Wiiliam A Rose – Great article but just one correction. They are not Congressional Medal of Honor winners, they are recipients. They are awarded the medal, they did not win a contest. I know most service personnel get very offended when that error is made. I have a family member who helps run a homeless shelter for vets and he says it is heartbreaking what he sees everyday. It is a disgrace how this country treats its vets the other 364 days of the year.

  20. William A. Rose says:

    Boston Blackie,

    I stand corrected. "Winner" was not intended. A poor choice of wording.

    Thank you.

  21. BAND OF BROTHERS says:

    They're all WINNERS in our hearts, however.

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