November 9, 1998
Honor Veterans on Veterans Day
By Harold L. "Butch" Miller
American Legion National Commander
Democracy reigns on lands consecrated by the sacrifice of ordinary men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces. We call these special people "veterans."
On a day that marks the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the end of World War 1, we pay tribute to those who did their duty as patriots. It's our moral duty to make them feel appreciated on Veterans Day. Here's how:
Start by thanking members of your own family who either served or are currently serving in the armed forces. Call your family members, as I will call my son, Craig, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and say: "Thanks for serving. I'm proud of you."
Next, bid a "Happy Veterans Day" to others in your community who are, or were, a part of the brave legacy of the American patriot.
Then, make plans to attend Veterans' Day commemorative events in your community. The more people turn out for Veterans' Day parades and Memorial Services, the more profound the debt of gratitude to those who served.
Finally, remember veterans in your prayers, especially those who use wheelchairs and artificial limbs as a result of battle scars that will never heal as well as those who were taken captive and whose absence remains unaccounted-for.
Veterans asked very little of their country but gave everything they had. The least we can do is give them our sincerest "thank you" for a job well done.
Our children and grandchildren will follow our example. They will learn to respect and appreciate a group of special Americans who are worthy of praise but are so modest about their service that they will settle for a simple "thank you."
Veterans are common Americans of uncommon valor and devotion to duty. They are men and women willing to spill their blood if it means Generation Xers and posterity won't be forced to spill theirs. The neighborhood baker who once served on an U.S. Navy warship, the physician who pulled bullets out of wounded troops and sewed them back together, the clergyman who issued last rites to fallen patriots and inspirational words to the battle-weary all should br remembered and thanked.
Veterans in your community include Legionnaires in a local American Legion post who help veterans readjust to civilian life, remind everyone of the priceless nature of Old Glory, operate programs that instill values in all children and youth and ensure that veterans recovering in the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital know that the community-at-large cares about them.
My comrades in American Legion posts in your area could use a few more good men and women, eligible veterans, to strengthen our community service.
When you think about it, there are perhaps thousands of veterans in your community: family, friends, acquaintances and other readers of this newspaper-who deserve a "thank you" on this special day.
If you appreciate the freedom we, as Americans, enjoy today, then you realize why it's important to honor those who sacrificed for that freedom.
That's what Veterans Day is all about.