Look up to the Real Heroes

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. One of those holidays that most people don’t celebrate, it just means the bank and Post Office are closed. And that is so wrong, to me. As far as I’m concerned, Veteran’s Day is one of the most important days of the year. Politicians are fond of saying that freedom isn’t free, but the cost isn’t measured in dollars, but in lives.

Both my father and father-in-law served in the military. My dad was in the Army. He lost his eye in the Korean Conflict. My father-in-law, whom I never got a chance to meet, was a career officer in the Air Force. He flew regular missions to Viet Nam, another unpopular war. Both of these men, as well as countless other uncles and cousins, gladly chose to protect and serve their country. It wasn’t for the pay, that was and still is pretty lousy for what we ask of them. It wasn’t for the glory. Although both fathers received medals and commendations, they weren’t on the evening news.

They did it because they loved their country, what it stood for, and what it gave them. Our country gave them a place to express their views without fear of imprisonment, retribution, or censure. It gave them a place to raise their families, with opportunities to achieve, to move up in the world, and create a better life.

Our country is still the same country they fought to protect. We can still express our point of view, even if it differs with those that rule. We still have a say in how things are run. We still have the chance to move up from our parents’ economic status. The United States is still the land of opportunity. And we have veterans to thank for that freedom.
Americans seem lost today, searching for heroes. They look to those on television, movies, and sports to give them a role model, someone to look up to, to be their heroes. They’re looking for heroes in people made of cardboard, one dimensional people, many of whom are famous only for being famous.

So look up to the real heroes. If you haven’t thanked a vet yesterday for the freedoms most of us take for granted, do so as soon as you can. Because they’re the ones that have paid the cost of freedom so the rest of us can have it.

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