Can you imagine how much more the flag and anthem must mean to them? Can you imagine how much pain and effort they put into making it possible to display that flag in this nation today, how many lives were lost or risked to keep this country the free place it is today? I can’t. I cannot even begin to understand what courage and persistence these people, our veterans, put into fighting in order to protect this nation and what it stands for.
As citizens of the United States of America, we take so many of our liberties for granted. Do you ever think about how lucky you are to be able to live in a country where you’re allowed to meet with others and speak your mind? Do you realize that people all over the world could be and are killed for saying, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ”? Can you imagine a world where women have absolutely no rights in society? Do you realize that you could easily be living in a country like that today? But you’re not. Thanks to the veterans.
Do you realize that in the last five years 4,177 men and women have died in the Iraq? That another 609 have died in Afghanistan? These people left behind friends, husbands, wives, parents, some even children! And they did it to keep this country safe, so that these same people- their friends, husbands, wives, parents, children, and even strangers- can live in a country where freedom is a way of life.
In our past, others have suffered, fought, and even died for our country: 10 million in World War I, another 16 million in World War II, 1.78 million in Korea, and 2.1 million in Vietnam. Between those four wars, nearly 30 million Americans fought, and 1,338,656 men and women lost their lives, so at least that many families lost a son or daughter or husband or wife. And all for the same reason: to keep this country safe. And it’s easy to look at these numbers and say, “That’s sad,” but imagine this: What if one of those who had died was your brother, father, uncle, grandfather, son, or boyfriend? What if it was your family member? Or what if it was you?
These people weren’t statistics. They were people, just like you and me. They had lives, and homes, and jobs, and friends, and families who love them. But they risked it all to make this country a better place.
But you know what? By God’s grace, not every soldier had to give their life. But they gave their time, their bodies, and their all. They took the same risks, left their families and friends and homes, but they were lucky enough to return. So, they may not have lost their lives, but they put them in jeopardy, and they deserve to be honored for that!
Every veteran, no matter what branch of the military or what war, risked his or her life. He traveled far away; some lost body parts, some lives, some very dear friends. But they all had to go through the experience. To see people they’ve grown to trust and care about shot and killed, sometimes right in front of them. Some had to kill, and some gave their lives. For their families, friends, and for you and me!
So how can you sit there and say, “I hate Veteran’s Day,” or, “That was the most boring thing ever”? How can you sit there and talk while the soldiers and former soldiers stand to be recognized for that long period of service?
Look around you and think about what you have. Do you get to wake up every morning knowing that you’re allowed to go to school? Knowing that you have the freedom to choose where you shop and what you buy? Being able to walk out your front door without feeling like you could be killed at any moment? Do you realize how lucky you are to be alive at all?
So many of these rights belong to us because of those who served, fought, are serving and are fighting for us to keep them. Look around you. Look at the country you live in? Why do we have all of these blessings? Two reasons: One, God. Without him, nothing is possible, and we would have nothing at all. He gives us all that we have. And two, because there were people out there willing to fight for it.
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