Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 10, 2012

Veterans Day

Our vets deserve your thanks for what they did

Our question of the week for this week is: “Do you take the time to thank veterans or active-duty personnel for their service?”

If your answer is “Yes,” then good for you. If it’s “No,” you probably should change your mind — particularly today, which is Veterans Day.

Some Veterans Day ceremonies will be held tomorrow, instead of today, because today is Sunday and the decision was made not to have people choose between going to church and turning out to honor our veterans.

Otherwise, these ceremonies take place at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 because the armistice that ended hostilities during World War I was signed at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. So we mark what used to be called Armistice Day on 11/11/11.

Those who have served honorably in our Armed Forces are considered to be veterans, even if they never were in a combat area.

The U.S. Marines stationed at the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, on April 18, 1983, were not in what was considered to be a combat area, but several of them were killed and others were wounded during a terrorist bombing.

Those who serve during peacetime deserve equally to be honored, Their role is to act as a deterrent to those who would be our enemies.

Indeed, the most important role our service members may play is the prevention of war.

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, said prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that the world’s biggest pacifists are generals on active duty. Few people hate war more than those who have seen its consequences. That said, many of them would go again, if they believed it was necessary.

You’ve probably heard the expression, “I’ve got your back,” which translates to, “I’m watching out for you.”

It may have been coined by two soldiers in a combat zone who were sitting back-to-back in a foxhole or another place where danger was imminent, probably during a night so dark they couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces.

Each was a second set of eyes for the other, prepared instantly to come to his aid. Those who have been in such situations say nothing can bring two people closer. At such times, they say, the concepts of duty, honor and country are elsewhere. All that exists is you and your buddies.

So when you see our veterans or those who are on active duty, thank them for their service and for your freedom. Many who no longer wear the uniform still serve America in one way or another.

They’ve got your back.

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