Archived Story

Veterans made this country great

Published 12:22pm Thursday, November 10, 2011

Column: Thanks for listening

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, a day we honor the soldiers who have fought for us, died for us, gave us our freedom.

In the primary wars of the 20th century — World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War — and the wars of the 21st century — Iraq War and War in Afghanistan — our soldiers have fought to keep our freedoms that many of us take for granted.

Voting, speech, assembly and the freedom of the press are just a few of the liberties we now may take for granted, but they are among the many liberties men and women have fought and died for.

I worry that, as some of our veterans are getting older, that we will lose the true meaning of Veterans Day. I think many people remember World War II, Korea and Vietnam from the black and white photos in their history books. The men and women who preserved our independence saw everything in color. They were up close and personal with every battle, every lost friend, and every wound they suffered.

The poet Robert Frost wrote:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

“I took the one less traveled by,

“And that has made all the difference.”

I would like to think that this was written about our soldiers and our veterans who not only took the road less traveled, but paved it with the freedoms that we now have grown to know as normal or ordinary. Our flag, our hope, our freedom is linked directly to the soldiers and veterans who gave it to us. These brave heroes need to be remembered every day, not once a year, and never as ordinary.

Growing up as an Army brat, I learned that soldiers are meant to be respected, but so too are the soldiers’ families. The loved ones of a soldier have a different battlefront. They have to manage the home front. When you have children missing their parents, bills to pay, chores to do, and, of course, missing your own wife or husband, life is hard.

To be at home and be the psychologist/teacher/ backbone is a tough job and one that demands respect.

I heard a cute story that sums up being a military family. It starts out that a teacher was talking to a new child of a military couple on his first day and stated to him, “that it must be hard finding a new home every couple of years.”

“No, ma’am” stated the young boy, “We have always had a home. We are just looking for a house to put it in.”

That short story sums up Veterans Day to me. Every soldier, every veteran should always feel they are a special part of one big family and that their home is what they fought for. Home is what we refer to as the United States of America.

Thank you to all of the veterans, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and their families who have fought, persevered and died so that we as a nation can be free.

Dad, I miss you and love you.


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.