As Americans, we are all blessed to have the opportunity to realize our dreams through the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” . Collectively we refer to this as “freedom”. It is freedom that affords us all our “American way of life”. But, as we all should know, “freedom is not free”. From the birth of our country to present day, great sacrifices have and continue to be made to secure and protect this freedom. It is America’s veterans that have and continue to answer the call of duty and pay the heavy price of freedom. It is for this that I am eternally grateful.
I have personally had the honor of meeting with several veterans whose military service ranges from non-combat administration to front lines. There have been many stories, tearful emotions, sincere regrets of being drafted rather than volunteering and modest proclamations of “I am not a hero”. And, although some may say that not all veterans are heroes in the truest sense of the word, we must never forget that all of America’s veterans, past and present, regardless of their role, are the steadfast catalysts of freedom on which the foundation of our democracy is built.
America’s veterans are the backbone and spearhead of freedom. These men and women have and continue to be called upon to confront that which most of us would surely shun. Though the intentions of conflicts into which America’s veterans are thrust may come under scrutiny, the objectives entrusted to these patriots are, time and time again, approached with a courage and determination that warrants the respect of every American.
America’s veterans are no strangers to sacrifice. Whether it be time away from family and loved ones, debilitating injuries or the ultimate sacrifice of life, America’s veterans have continually and tirelessly answered our nation’s call to arms. I, and I hope all Americans, appreciate the sacrifices they have made to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy are never diminished. Let us not forget that our freedom is a privilege selflessly earned and continually protected by these brave men and women.
Credits: Home page U.S. flag photo taken by Brooke Spencer facing the San Francisco bay from the stern of the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. There are only three Liberty ships of the 2,710 built that are preserved as museum ships. The SS Jeremiah O’Brien, SS John W. Brown and SS Hellas Liberty (SS Arthur M. Huddell during WWII). Only the SS Jeremiah O’Brien and SS John W. Brown are currently operational.