On this Veterans Day, the image that comes to mind for many of us will be a World War II vet, a member of the so-called Greatest Generation. Time has allowed us to cherish their contributions. So, too, people have warmed up to the veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars.
But most of us don’t pay as much respect to active duty members and the veterans from the past serveral years as we should. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have proved to be politically unpopular, and it’s much more fun to read about the Kardashians or a football game than a battle far away. In past wars, most people had a brother or a cousin or a neighbor serving, but because it’s an all-volunteer military, that’s not necessarily so today.
Veterans too often get used as political pawns, but these men and women deserve our gratitude. Their jobs require the same skills, bravery and determination exhibited by veterans of past wars. Their sacrifice is just as huge – birthdays, holidays and special moments observed apart from family and friends, their lives put at risk. Active-duty personnel who aren’t in combat now know that could change in a heartbeat.
Whatever their role, whatever the conflict or the politics, veterans past, present and future have earned our support. Their role of protecting us and keeping our nation free should not be diminished by our attention-deficit nation.