Written by Mart Allen
A lot to be thankful for
November is one of my favorite months, in spite of what it is a harbinger of, for it also is a month that nationally reminds us of the many things we have to be thankful for. We celebrate two national holidays, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day this month and, for all intents and purposes, it occurs to me that it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they one day may be combined. As our country ages we continue to have occasions and heroes that are worthy of being honored with a National Holiday and you have to ask yourself how many can we afford.
In my short life span I have perceived an ever ominous trend to downplay and denigrate the role our military plays in insuring we continue to have reason to count our many blessings. Life is full of many evils and it would be lovely if we simply ignored them and they would disappear. We hear a lot of talk from the politicos about the three branches of government and how they were formed to counterbalance each other. I never hear a word about the principal and over-riding duty of the executive branch which is the security of the nation and none of the several nuances it has, in effect, usurped. If the military had not provided security, we would not have nearly as many things to be thankful for as we do today.
I know it may be tedious for some to read what I am about to reiterate but, in light of the trend I mention above, it needs to be pointed out. It is a poem by Charles M. Province, a veteran of the U S Army. It states very succinctly and factually to whom we owe the most thanks for the many things we can be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving Holiday.
IT IS THE SOLDIER
It is the soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion
It is the soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us the freedom to protest.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer
Who gives us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Today has been set aside to honor the men and women who took the time from their personal lives to serve and defend our nation. They were not fighting for what lay ahead of them when they were in some far off land but what they had left behind. I admit that it has been hard to fathom the reasoning behind some of conflicts they were asked to engage in, but that is no reason to blame the military. We do not always agree with their mission, but their’s is not to question why.
To err is human and in our long history mistakes were bound to occur. The pattern for every mistake that man ever made, regardless of how devious, cruel or inhuman they may have been, happened long before this nation was ever founded. We made our share of them in our short history, but they have long ago been paid for by our actions to help others here in this country and abroad. We have a lot more to be proud of as citizens of this world than we do to be ashamed of.
In closing all I can say is thank you to every veteran for your service and everyone else to do the same.
The thought for the week comes from former President Calvin Coolidge: Patriotism is easier to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.