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Remembering the fallen and the alive…

Photo Credit: AP (The Spokesman-Review)
Photo Credit: AP (The Spokesman-Review)

Good afternoon, Netizens...

It is Veterans Day 2009, and now that I have cleared my desk of various other things too cumbersome for discussion, I am going to lean heavily on what this day should mean to us all. The AP picture of President Obama walking among the tombs of our fallen Americans somehow spoke to me, but this was just the beginning.

Initially I was going to write about the local observations of this day taking place in various places around Spokane, from the tribute paid to Vietnam Veterans at the Vietnam Memorial at Riverfront Park to the many memorials being held at various cemeteries throughout our region. Then I realized how many other Blogs and newspaper articles and pictures were posted across the nation about these events, both local, regional and national.

Then a quiet voice, one of our unsung Veteran-heroes, spoke to me in e-mail and said, “Without Veteran's day, we wouldn't have any of the others. Don't thank them for their service, everyone serves. Thank each one for their sacrifices.”

Then yet another voice, Bob Kirkpatrick, stated with typically great wisdom, “An empty chair sits starkly obvious as families sit down to dinner today.”

Recently KREM-TV broadcast a highly-leveraged series of news articles, all of which sought public support to send World War II Veterans to Washington, DC so they could attend the WWII Veterans Memorial. At the time, I thought to myself, how nice of Randy Shaw to organize and accomplish such a task, but then thought, what about the homeless Veterans who fought in Viet Nam? What about their contribution? What about their need to go to “The Wall” and commemorate the veterans and perhaps friends who sacrificed their all in an unpopular war? Is/was the War in Viet Nam still that unpopular?

I cannot help but wonder if the dead, who lay in row after row in the cemetery where President Obama walked today could speak to him, what would they say?

I submit if such a thing were possible, in one voice, Veterans both living and dead would say, “We gave the ultimate sacrifice so that yet another generation of Americans could continue to live free. It was our duty, and we are proud that someone, anyone, would remember where we once made our stands.”

And on those thoughts I solemnly raise my hand to my heart and salute them all, both living and dead, always hoping someday we will see an end to war but knowing how many have died trying.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.