The veterans who defend and protect any country or civilization should be held in the highest regard and respect.

Those of us who were young children during the years of World War II know by observation how veterans should be respected and revered. They were looked upon with a feeling of utmost gratitude for their sacrifices and contributions to our freedom.

During those years, patriotism was natural for a citizenry united in defeating the attempt by others to conquer Europe, Russia, and eventually the world. Our young men and women defeated the enemy at a great cost of life and limb. Wounds that were incurred those many years ago are still carried by many of the remaining veterans of that terrible conflict.

The wars that have followed this awful war have likewise been fought by the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of these brave warriors of the Greatest Generation. In each and every call to duty, young Americans have answered the necessary needs of their country and distinguished themselves by fighting in some of the most difficult areas turned battlegrounds in the world.

The World War II veterans have all but disappeared as age overtakes them. But we still have with us those who have fought and defended America from those dark and tragic days forward.

Our nation has not forgotten the sacrifice of our veterans. By beautiful and meaningful example, the guarding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery is a constant reminder of our owed respect, gratitude, and debt to our veterans.

The selectively chosen guards take 21 steps and then pause for 21 seconds after their about-face to begin their return walk. The significance of 21 reflects the twenty-one gun salute, the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

They carry their rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After their march, they execute an about-face and move the rifle to the outside shoulder. The majority of the time, guards are changed every thirty minutes, 365 days a year. They must commit two years to guard the tomb.

No lint, wrinkles, or folds are found on their uniforms. Preparation can take as much as five hours and is completed in front of a full-length mirror.

Their shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of their shoes in order to make a loud click as they come to a halt. Their gloves are wet to keep their rifles from slipping. Day after day, no matter the weather, this ritual of national reverence has been conducted since 1935.

I use this illustration to make a point as to our personal responsibility of remembrance and respect that is owed to our veterans.

It is time, even well beyond time, to once more elevate our veterans to their earned and rightful place of prominence, gratitude, and respect for their service to our country and the protection of our highly purchased freedom. There is no price too high, no service too costly, no assistance too distant, no personal need too insignificant, no admiration too extravagant, and no anguished cry for help too distant or ignored.

These ever marching bands of heroes leave their bloodied footprints in and through the annals of our illustrious and envied American history. By their patriotic dedicated commitment, they have preserved freedom and restored peace around the world.

Their earned respect must be taught and displayed to our young so they may also proudly carry the patriotic flag of heart gratitude for our veterans and their unselfish contributions to our blessed land – proudly and thankfully called America, land of the free and home of the brave.

Our veterans have proven throughout our history the statement of Mark Twain to be true: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, One nation, evermore! –Oliver Wendell Holmes.

On this Veterans Day 2019, we humbly and with utmost respect and gratefulness wish to thank all veterans. You have defended and protected us long and well. May God bless all those who have served and are now serving. You are America’s most prized asset of freedom. We are eternally indebted to each of you.

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