As the country prepares to pay their respects to those who have fought to secure our freedoms I would also like to join them in thanking not only those whom have passed but also those who continue to protect our freedoms today. In addition to the brave men and women of the armed forces, I would also like to offer thanks to the men and women of the nation's police and law enforcement agencies. At a time when our country is at war, the focus is easily drawn to the very deserving group of folks who serve in our country's military and it seems easy to overlook the work done by those who put their life on the line everyday with little fanfare (which would be unwanted anyways).
The men and women of the United States military are an invaluable asset and they deserve all the positive attention that they get. Too often they hear the negatives about their actions as directed by those charged with leading them. We are all aware of the ongoing war in Iraq and that our country has lost some fine men and women, who themselves were sons, daughters, fathers, mothers and even grandparents. There is no way that these individuals can be replaced in the arms of their loved ones. But you can honor their lives and the lives of those still fighting to protect this nation so that those of us who havent picked up a rifle and taken our post (without questioning why or for how long can sit in their homes on a quiet street) can write an article.
You see, those of us who haven't served a day in the most powerful military in the world or those who havent worked a shift not knowing where your next call will place you, have done so by choice. Those who wear the uniform of their respected branch or agency have as well. They chose to serve and protect the people of this country, whether that is on a global, national, state or local level. Those people also do so without the promise of financial retribution but rather with an issued bulletproof vest and the promise that your family will receive an honorary flag for your service and perhaps a mention on the local news should you be killed in the line of duty. All the while, the world as we know it moves on; overpaid professional athletes demand more money to play their sport, people cheat on their taxes and reality television finds more ways to exploit those people who want to be exploited.
Instead of using the military as a political whipping boy and railing on the authority (on lack thereof) of law enforcement agencies, try placing yourself in their shoes. Think about those who don't have the option of calling in "sick" just so they can play 18 holes before it gets too hot. Or better yet, think about those who allow you to sit in your home on that quiet street without the fear of having someone break into your home or boost your car.
Pay your respects however you choose to, but don't allow their hard work and that of those who came before them go unappreciated. The next time you see a veteran or someone still serving, thank them for all that they have given up to give us so much.
To all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of protecting what is important, and to those who are still on the front lines both here and abroad, thank you again from not only me but also from my family. Thank you for doing a job that many of us can't or wouldn't do. While the title has been given to many people, you are truly deserving of being called 'heroes'.
This article was released on 2005-05-30.
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