We should all go out and thank a veteran

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, November 13, 2002

By By Lindsey Sherrill
It amazes me with all that has happened in this country, not only throughout the last year, but also through its history, that people can still be so nonchalant about freedom or so ungrateful and unpatriotic. Take the holiday this week for example. How many people actually stopped to think about the meaning of Veterans' Day? And, more than that, how many people even cared? Why is it that the people who have done more for us, who have sacrificed everything for us, receive so little respect?
Maybe beyond the whole issue of the lack of respect for veterans is the issue of a lack of respect for history. Our veterans are living pieces of history which we have before us everyday, yet how often are they treated as such? Because of the disgraceful lack of respect for the past in this country, people forget all too quickly the lessons and trials of the past. Or, if they do not forget, there is apathy. History should be preserved, protected, and honored. If we do not revere that which has gone before, how will we ever learn?
An example of this apathy and disrespect was apparent just this Monday during a Veterans' Day presentation I attended. Although the majority of those attending were respectful, there were those who were not only lacking respect, but who spent the entire interval acting as if they wanted to be anywhere else and completely missing the importance of the assembly. Before them were men, veterans, who had preserved the very freedom to have such an assembly without fear. These men, veterans of WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War, some with children now embroiled in the present conflict, were living pieces of the past, available and accessible to learn from. How long will such a chance be available? I heard a statistic earlier this week that over 1,000 WW II veterans die each day. With such an alarming rate, should we not only be celebrating Veterans' Day as the holiday that it was meant to be, but also showing these people respect everyday? Shouldn't we, not only on Veterans' Day but on every day of the year, take time to be grateful for the freedoms we've been given? After all, how hard is it to say thank you?

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