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A Veterans Day Message

By Remy Benoit

It is Veterans Day.

Most of us are off from work, from school, and will enjoy a long weekend.

Yet, while we are doing that, we have troops engaged around the globe; many of them in armed combat, their lives, their health, at stake. Their families are at home, waiting, praying. Their lives are at stake too.

There are new born babies who have not seen their Dads yet. There are babies being cared for by Dads while Mom is away at the front.

There are Veterans around of many, many wars. They carry their memories; they carry the dreams, the hopes, the plans of those who never made it home. They carry wounds, physical and mental. They carry pride, a sense of a job well done.

And they carry oh so many, many other things. Some of them carry a sense of being forgotten, disparaged, and yes, betrayed by the public they went to serve.

They wonder, often, why no one seems to care about the sacrifices they have made.

They march in parades, but as one told me, it was hard to find a smile.

They wonder why it takes so long to get an appointment at the VA.

They wonder where we are; why we are not there for them, as they were there for us.

They will go on wondering, they will go on hurting, until we take a stand next to them and demand better treatment for them.

Can we do that? Can we take a stand and demand respectful and comprehensive care of them?. Or will we continue to be AWOL when they need us? There comes a point when we must take a stand. That point came long ago. Don't let it go on unobserved. Be there, be vocal, and take the stand with the courage that they did.

And, there is something else we can do. As they protect, as they defend, we have the obligation to be informed, to be part of the decision making policies of this nation.

That is not only an obligation is to vote every couple years, it is to stay informed, to express our views to the incumbents at all levels of government. If you don't know who represents you at your state and federal levels, honor our Veterans by finding out and getting those people to recognize your name, your ideas, your ideals.

We are the United States. Each and every one of us is, and thus, we are responsible for what is done in our names.

It is our obligation to find other ways than war to solve the problems of the world. It is our obligation to help stop hunger and poverty; to learn about others; to learn how others view us. Sure it is work, but pulling a trigger in combat is work too. Hard, terrible work.

Courage is showing up.
The Veterans showed up and that showing up changed their whole lives.

Show up for the Veterans we have. It will help to enhance their lives, and it will certainly change yours.

Show up to help find solutions to problems.

Freedom of speech is not only a right. It is also a responsibility. Those who have it must defend it, and part of that defense is to use it rationally, compassionately, and in a positive manner.

That is the way to truly make freedom ring.

That is the way to spread democracy, by example.

We are connected across the globe by the Internet as we have never been before. Your own backyard is vastly larger now than it has ever been. It is the whole planet. It our responsibility to tend to it and its habitants with care. With knowledge, with understanding and communication, things can be changed toward the positive.

Finding that knowledge, sharing it, is also the responsibility of each of us, not only for ourselves, not only for generations to come, but for the very existence of the planet itself.

Care for those who have served; honor them with finding new paths for peace and progress.

To all of you who have served, thank you for your service, and Welcome Home.

God Bless you all, and may God bless and guide the USA.


Here are a few places to start.

From Operation Truthout Veterans Deserve More Than a Parade.

Paralyzed Veterans of America.


Veteran and Military Advocates.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

From the AP and CNN Time overtaking World War I vets.

From the AP and MSNBC Program enables aging vets to visit memorials.

From The History of Veteran's Day.

Good news here from the AP and VA Cancels Review of Stress Claims.

From Centre Daily Times Ideals must be upheld.

From the Des Moines Register and Patrick J. Palmersheim Honor our nation's pledge to remember troops' sacrifice.

From the Boston Globe, Kathy McCabe, and Veterans for Common Sense Iraq war casts Veterans Day in new light.


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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