One of the things we older people do for entertainment is sit around and remember. We think back on our earlier days. One of my favorite pastimes is considering the decisions I’ve made that have brought me to this point in my life. I recollect my choices. I ponder what life would have been like had I picked a different path. Of course we cannot live life over again but it’s sometimes good to recall how our lives have turned out.
Today I can honestly say one of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to join the military service at the ripe old age of 17. I remember at that time the draft was a clear reality. If you were like me, healthy, unmarried and without rich parents to get you out of it, you were probably going to be drafted. We were told that by joining, we would have much better choices. That turned out to be not so true, but I was a country boy who had never been away from home and I thought I was ready for adventure. That’s exactly what it turned out to be.
I learned more about weapons than I ever thought I could know. I learned discipline. I learned leadership. Mostly I learned what it means to be an American and what we all owe for that privilege. Upon reflection, I can honestly say I received so much more from my military service than I ever gave. Even today I am cared for by the VA where I get the best care one could receive. I will always be grateful for this benefit from my service.
Nov. 11 is a day chosen to honor our veterans. As a veteran I’m honored by just being associated with such a group. I know my service was appreciated as I appreciate all the others who served. Today though, I think of all who have fallen on foreign soil or on far away oceans. I think of all who returned with physical and mental challenges occasioned by the horrors they had to deal with. I think of the families who gave their sons and daughters so we all could be free.
They are all in our thoughts and prayers. We honor them all.
We have all heard freedom is not free and truer words were never spoken. There is a price to be paid for the freedoms we enjoy. Fortunately, when the call has gone out, Americans have responded. Today we have the finest, best-equipped military in existence. They stand at the ready to do anything necessary to make sure our way of life continues. When you see a member of the military, show your appreciation. Thank them for their service. Thank them for the gift they are giving to all of us. Thank them for your freedom.
Today as we remember veterans, we think of those who didn’t return home, those who returned with severe challenges, and we also remember those who just put their lives on hold to serve as a deterrent to the evils of this world. How fortunate we as a country are to have such people willing to serve. Today we thank the families for their sacrifices. You gave this country your children, your brothers and sisters, your parents. You gave so we all could live. No greater love exists. Today we honor you too.
In November we celebrate veterans and we also set aside a day of Thanksgiving. We should all be thankful for our military and, because of them, our way of life.
Ron Scarbro, Veterans Day, 2012