A Salute to Soldiers
From Andy Hooker (Specialist 5th Class U.S. Army, President Sarasota County Veterans Commission, Proud Member of Alpha Company of the Vietnam Brotherhood).
As I ponder as to what I was going to say on this Veterans Day, my twenty one year old daughter had recently sent me an essay she was working on for my review. After reading the following . . . tears rolled down my cheeks. I would like to share with you today an excerpt of her essay.
"I walk out my front door. I do not hear gunfire. I do not hear bombs drop. I do not hear warfare. I am not afraid to step outside. I do not live in fear. I maintain good relations with my imagination. I say what I feel. I write what I feel. I paint what I feel. I am not afraid to step outside of the box. I do not live in fear. It is that very notion - the freedom to be myself - that instills within me a grand reverence for our nation's soldiers. I owe my liberties to the soldiers who have fought in the past, who fight in the present, and who will fight in the future to preserve the independence of this majestic country."
"I remember sitting in my high school history class, watching a movie about war. I imagined my father, not much older than me, as one of the soldiers. As I watched, tears welled up in my eyes, knowing that my father really had experienced this. He had felt the brutality of the battle field. He had lost his closest comrades in the blink of an eye. He had endured the paranoia of impending casualty. In that moment, I realized how fortunate I am to have life in this world. The sheer conviction of these cinematic images instilled a stately pride within me. This emotional catharsis gave me a respect, not only for my life, but also for my father and a new-found patriotism for my country and all its military veterans."
"I am thankful that I can walk down the street and not fear for my life. I am thankful that I can pick up a paint brush and not fear censorship. I am thankful that I live in a country, where I can pursue my educational aspirations and not fear persecution. To my father and to all of the other valiant men and women who fought yesterday, who fight today and who will fight tomorrow to protect my homeland - I send my gratitude. For because of you - I do not live in fear - I live in freedom."
Some may ask how we can pay tribute to those who have chosen a path of service to our country. Michael Hill sums it up in his new military tribute song THESE DAYS.
How do we repay the strongest and the brave.
What can we do for them when they're so far away.
And what about the loved ones, the daughters and the sons left behind when the troubles come.
Give thanks to those who answer the call, Give thanks to those who offer their lives, For those who march in silence and those they left behind, A nation hears the thunder, Another world away, Let's open up our eyes right now, And help them; we've got to help them through these days.
Sometimes a simple Thank You for your service to a veteran, service man or woman is all that is needed.
God bless our service men and women. God bless you. God bless our veterans and God Bless America.