The American soldier is the backbone of our liberties; the rock upon which tyranny must break. Without their sacrifice, their unwavering commitment to this nation and the ideals it espouses, this republic not only would have fallen but its beacon of hope would have been extinguished long ago beneath the smoke-ridden battlefields of Lexington, Bunker Hill, or Yorktown. Tragically, despite the fact millions of Americans bask in the opportunity and affluence of their God-given rights, those procured by the unassuming few, the sacrifices and struggles of our veterans too often go unappreciated or unnoticed; especially by those with the most blessings or disagreeable political beliefs. Many needlessly suffer from debilitating physical injuries or undiagnosed mental illness, countless are unable to find work or sufficiently provide for their families who faithfully endured sleepless nights, and a disturbing number of our veterans – roughly 40,000 without shelter and an estimated 300,000 lacking adequate food – roam the littered streets of modern apathy without proper healthcare or even the faintest gesture of concern. And yes, there are those forsaken souls who commit suicide, one veteran nearly every hour of every day, to escape a hell most ordinary citizens could scarcely conceive.
The next time you stand in line for the newest technological marvel, complain about traffic or the everyday contrivances of modern inconvenience, remember that these brave men and women represent the forgotten, the nameless, the silhouette of bravery manning the gates of freedom; the billowing breath standing steadfast in the darkest corners of the world so that America, war’s widowed children, may peacefully slumber beneath the unfurled dawn of liberty’s light. Duty, valor, honor, God, country? These are not commercial taglines left to bleed off a bumper sticker or fade from a politician’s neglected promise. They are the timeless values, the intrinsic calling, the undying creed of United States veterans; those fathers and friends, brothers and brethren, who proudly served so the huddled masses may continue to breathe. Veteran’s Day is not just another day of empty revelry and convenient celebration. It’s our unbridled privilege, our inherent obligation as free men and women, to stand beside those heroes who restored our faith in humanity. It is our nonnegotiable responsibility to thank our veterans, not on any singular occasion or nationally ordained day of recognition, but to seek out those who have fallen into the callous cracks of society’s indifference and restore their faith in America. It is our sacred duty to honor theirs, now and forever!