The Celebration of Veterans Day
Nov. 11, 2018
By Rick Bellagamba
It’s people just like you and me who help us all remember our veterans. Your displays of generosity, kindness and patriotism have been nothing short of astounding since 9/11, even though our patriots go way back to before 1776. With devoted Americans all over the country opening their hearts to donate their hard-earned money to honor our veterans, our ability to help servicemembers in need has grown in ways we never thought possible. So before I say anything else, I’d like to thank those wonderful people for their dedication to our country and the sincere generosity they’ve shown to embody it. Out of over 360 million people in our country – only 1 percent are or were active military members. But why is it that approximately 22 members commit suicide every day?? I’d like to address that in a future column. Not all of us veterans have seen death and body parts during deployments, but for those who have, it can be devastating, and a memory not easily forgotten. The term PTSD is not to be taken lightly, it’s real. I will address that in the future.
Margaret Thatcher once said, “Americans and Europeans alike sometimes forget how unique is the United States of America. No other nation has been created so swiftly and successfully. No other nation has been built upon an idea—the idea of liberty. No other nation has so successfully combined people of different races and nations within a single culture. Both the founding fathers of the United States and the successive waves of immigrants to your country were determined to create a new identity. Whether in flight from persecution or from poverty, the huddled masses have, with few exceptions, welcomed American values, the American way of life and American opportunities. And America herself has bound them to her with powerful bonds of patriotism and pride.”
What binds us together as Americans is not a common ethnicity or loyalty to a ruling family. Our common bond is allegiance to a set of founding principles based on natural rights and individual liberty. That makes our country an exception among nations. And, it means that those who’ve taken up arms in service to the United States can be assured that their service and sacrifice was for a cause that is timeless. American veterans deserve to be proud of that. And those of us who cherish our freedoms are grateful for them. If it hadn’t been for the generations of patriotic and selfless Americans willing to put their lives on the line, the freedoms we take for granted would have long ago disappeared.
Our commitment to liberty should not waver; therefore, neither should our commitment to those who have defended it. However, we honor our veterans for preserving liberty at home, and where possible, restoring or expanding the blessings of liberty and freedom abroad. Veterans know better than anybody the cost of freedom. Veterans also tend to be the most patriotic Americans because they understand what America stands for, what they served and fought for. It’s deeply great and deserving with astronomical pride. That’s a lesson we can all learn from our veterans this Veterans Day. Our missing POWs will not be forgotten.
God bless our veterans and God bless the U. S. of A.
Dedicated to my father – lifelong Legion member