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Old soldiers and youngsters…

Photo: Amy Sancetta/AP

A statue salutes the rising sun at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio
Photo: Amy Sancetta/AP A statue salutes the rising sun at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio

Good morning, Netizens...

Old soldiers seldom forget to salute the flag. It is ingrained in their memories, even long after their service to our country. This morning's picture, shot of a statue in Ohio of a soldier saluting the morning sunrise, somehow is fitting given that today is Veterans Day.

For most people Veterans Day appears to be a “disposable holiday”. Sure, it's great that parking in Spokane is free, that most government agencies are closed for the day. For some it is even a paid holiday. Does it ever sink into our collective conscientiousness that nameless men and women gave their lives so that we might live free? Does it ever filter down into our minds how many American young men and women there are scattered around the globe today in mortal danger? Sadly, I wonder.

The word heroes has somewhat of a false ring to me, mostly because so many people who have never served in a time of conflict are proclaimed by the news media as being heroes, when they have done nothing to earn that title. They have not given their lives so that someone else could live, nor have they given their lives for our country. That is my definition of what it takes to be a true hero. Most of our veterans who are heroes came home in boxes, although a few survived.

Happy Veterans Day? In my opinion there is nothing happy about today. There are still the memories of veterans who are eking out horrible lives in pain and anguish from their service, veterans for whom there is little care and assistance, and I don't give a damn what the Veterans Administration has to say about it. There is acre after acre of silent graves, the anguish of families and loved ones and the knowledge that young men and women gave their lives for our country.

It is much more than the list of names on a wall or even the memories of a loved one who died in some far-off war. Today commemorates veterans for their service to our country, and it is incumbent upon each of us to remember their service. That is our obligation as citizens in this country. It is sad that so few Americans take the time, save one day each year, to remember their service.

Search out all the veterans you know, walk right up to them and eyeball-to-eyeball, shake their hands and say thank you.


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