Today is Veterans’ Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day depending on your location and your history. It is a day to remember the end of “The War to End All Wars”. On this day I remember the thousands of soldiers on both sides who died needlessly for the glorification of their generals in the hours immediately preceding the Armistice which took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
For me this day serves as a reminder that all veterans and all who have served in the military have made sacrifices and many have made the ultimate sacrifice. At the very least these sacrifices have been made in the name of duty and honor. Too many of those who died for duty and honor also died for the vanity of generals and politicians in wars and conflicts that had no tangible objectives, fighting against undefinable enemies, and only served to extend our nation’s imperialistic policies and stroke the egos of our policy makers. Too many have gone into battle ill-equipped to face the threats posed against them and died due to the willful negligence of the national command authorities.
Tomorrow is just the 12th of November, just another day though many will enjoy a three-day weekend. While we enjoy our long weekend and the sales, we should think about the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen deployed in Afghanistan who can’t have a three-day weekend.
Remember the sacrifices all veterans have made, not just our veterans but soldiers of all nations throughout all of history. There really is no difference among them. They may have been sent to war for different ideologies and beliefs, but their sacrifices have all been the same.
The best way to honor those who are serving and those who have served to keep us safe from the threats out there, both real and imagined and to defend the freedoms we hold so dearly, is to exercise our freedom, not just in the voting booth but every day in everything we do. Question authority no matter what form that authority might be. Hold our elected officials from city councilmen and mayors to Senators, Congressmen and the President accountable for their actions and their inaction. They were elected to serve us, the citizens, not the banks, the military-industrial complex, the super-rich, or the special interest groups. If they are not serving the citizens, they are not fulfilling their obligations and need to be removed from office.
Use your freedom or it will be taken from you, not by terrorists or any foreign power but by those you elected to serve you. If we give up our freedom, then the sacrifices of all American veterans will have been in vain.