We salute our Veterans today – those who served our country and those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
I remember the times when my mother told me stories of WWII when she was growing up in the 1940’s. She told me that several of her neighbors’ sons went off to World War II, but never returned. She told me about her uncle who was sent to Iwo Jima, and returned but was never the same. How her other uncle served somewhere in the Asian theatre, and returned but had to be “locked up” because he went “crazy.”
Our soldiers in WWII fought fascism and fought against an evil that our modern society had never before seen. They fought to keep us safe and to maintain the freedoms and liberty that our American society enjoyed. Yet America was not perfect in that regard. At that time, blacks were lynched and endured a “separate but equal” society. We discriminated against Catholics, and we didn’t like Jews either. There were no rights at all for people of a different sexual orientation. Later in the 50’s, we sent the woman back to the kitchen – women made war equipment and worked in the factories during WWII, but now she was not needed when the soldiers returned.
Freedom and liberty are tenuous and subjective as they always have been. But during war time, at least during WWII, we seemed to rise above our personal prejudices and fears, and bind together as Americans on an equal common front against the Axis of Evil.
Today, we are swallowed in muck. We hate, we fear, and we are intolerant as a society. We have leaped back in time to the darker times that resemble what our brave veterans fought against in WWII. Our veterans have always fought for a grander America, an America that probably in reality never existed, but an America that, in times of war, caused us to unite together for a common good no matter color of skin, religion, ancestry, gender, or who you love. Our differences do not matter in time of war – only our country. My hope is that our veterans’ sacrifices will continue to have meaning and value, and that America retains some of her higher Glory during these times and the times ahead.
We, from the bottom of our hearts, thank our veterans who help us retain some glimmer of hope for a higher national consciousness and an America that provides true, meaningful freedom and equal opportunity for all of its people.