Memorial Day nine years ago marked a deeply moving milestone, prompting a heartfelt letter request of everyone I know, to please find a veteran and sincerely thank them for their courage and dedication. The same message strikes even deeper now, while we all reflect on how many casualties and injuries our service personnel have endured and continue to suffer. The original letter follows this one.
One friend (and former boss) replied to my ’98 letter by writing, “Thanks for taking the time to share your exploits and experiences with us. I am currently printing this message to share, not only with the employees of ..., but also with some selected others who need to hear the message that you have been so eloquent in sharing. Funny how the mundane, everyday slices of life in this country can be overlooked so easily and yes even taken for granted. It is only when these can be viewed from a different perspective, like the one you now have, that they can be truly appreciated.”
Of course at that time there was no way to fathom the massive patriotic rejuvenation sparked by the heinously dubious terrorist attacks in 2001, and the following US-led invasions of two foreign nations. Today, as veterans and all patriots spare time to remember the ‘courage it took to dedicate their lives to protect our great nation,’ may we also remember the ‘values America was built on’ – which our soldiers and veterans swore allegiance to. I implore everyone to re-read the ‘The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America.’ When you finish reading it, ask yourself, ‘Do I read Fear -- or Courage -- in our Declaration?’
Does our Declaration, which inspired change throughout the civilized world, intend to actually protect dishonesty, moral hollowness or tyranny? A business leader (whom most of us have studied at one point or another) sums up the feelings that all patriots of conscience are feeling, “You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged” (Lee Iacocca in ‘Where Have All the Leaders Gone?’).
Today when displaying our flag, and admiring the glory of our stars and stripes across our great nation and abroad, please remember, if even for a moment, that veteran patriots currently on the battlefield, in recovery, and in history past, deserve our courage to support the America she was born to be: a Beacon of Liberty, Truth, Justice, Honor unto God.
Again, I plead, please find (at least) one veteran, and tell them "thank you" for me. While sadly I can now only pay reverence to my Grandpa in memory, I can still tell you, Dad, “Thank You,” for leading the way. I love you.
May God bless you and your family in your strides to peace,