Fact: Since 1776, the United States has been at peace for only 21 years or, in other words, the U.S. has been at war during 214 of its 235 years of existence.
Startling, no? The last year of peace in the United States was 2000, before the War on Terrorism began. Before that, 1997. Before that 1976-78. That means, in my own personal existence, I have only known peace for two years. Teens graduating high school this year have never known peace…but they are protected. As I have been. As you have been. The real heroes in a life of perpetual war, are those in the military, putting themselves in danger to protect the ones they love. They leave their families and friends not knowing if and when they will return. And when they do come back, often they have suffered – physically and/or mentally. They have seen and undergone experiences that non-military citizens could never imagine. Sure, we watch movies in the pleasant safety of our homes and theaters but it’s not the same. Real war is not entertainment. It’s not a game. It’s a horrifying and grotesque venture that someday – God willing – will end. Someday it will end, I hope.
Today is Veteran’s Day. A day created to honor those that have protected us during all of our days. But, to me, our veterans deserve more than a day. They deserve the best our country can offer. They deserve the best welcomes, the best opportunities and the very best care. It is with great shame that this is not the case. Our veterans should want for nothing and we should support our real heroes. Work for them as they have worked for you.
I would like to say thank you to all the veterans that have put themselves in danger so that we should live without fear. Thank you to the veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Kosovo, and the never-ending War on Terror. Thank you to all with the courage to be a part of our military in a world where the only certainty is war.