Monday, November 8, 2010

Honor Our Troops

November 11 is Remembrance Day. This is the time day when we take a moment to give thanks and pay respect to the men and women all over the world from countries far and wide whose jobs it was to protect the free world? We are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice they made. We honor past fallen heroes as we watch the news of the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. So many countries work together towards the common goal of a free world. We so often not only take for granted the choices that we can make, but in fact that we have the ability to make those choices at all. On Remembrance Day we show our gratitude.

Many of us have seen the advertisements on television showing troops carrying their heavy gear through crowded airports to the cheers and applause of well wishers. Some troops are going off to war; others are returning; yet others are on their first trip to basic training. What a nice way to openly show our gratitude. We take a moment; look them each squarely in the eye; smile and say thank you. Some will likely not return.

Remembrance Day is an official flag flying day too. Customarily, the flag is raised in the morning and lowered to half mast from 11 am to 12 Noon, when it is once again raised fully.

The armed forces serve to protect our country from harm and to help defend democracy around the world. They also are a wonderful way for young men and women to get a great education and to learn how to impart good values to their own children as well as to children overseas left homeless as a result of war and bloodshed.

The natural disasters which occur on an unfortunately unpredictable and frequent basis are further occasions for various branches of the military to come to our rescue. It amazes me how often I read about the National Guard moving in to help out in one serious situation after another. Those men and women are so skillfully trained in so many important skills. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires and other forces of nature leave a path of destruction. We are so blessed to have a well trained army of people who can step up to the plate when called upon. Remembrance Day remembers those who lost their lives in this line of duty as well.

I think about the day when war will sleep. The world will be quiet from gun blasts and rocket fire. Pirates will no longer threaten our precious cargo. Disagreements between us will be handled civilly. We as a human race can value life for what it is, free of discrimination, free of oppression, free of the need to exert unnecessary power over our fellow man. Until that time, our armed forces are important. There are tens of thousands of troops strategically placed around the globe keeping a watchful eye over potential harm. Second guessing the master minds of evil, while at the same time battling the dreaded diseases and poverty of the third world, are all in a days work for these brave men and women in uniform. And their valiant efforts were not done on some lush tropical island with gentle breezes. These folks were subject to the worst of conditions with danger lurking around every corner.

I like days like Remembrance Day. It is another of those punctuations on the calendar which reminds us to count our blessings and to be mindful of those who made our life of freedom possible. The next time you see an enlisted person in uniform, take a moment to look them in the eye and extend your hand from your heart to theirs. It shows how much respect we have for them and how much the dangerous jobs that they have chosen do not go unnoticed by any one of us. They will appreciate this kind gesture and so will your heart.