The mental picture of a veteran as a grandfatherly type who likes to tell stories about World War II or Korea is as outdated these days as the vintage weapons those men might have carried into combat.
Today's veterans include both men and women. They could have served in Vietnam or in more recent conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq. Or they could have served during peace time at any number of remote outposts. What they have in common is that they left a relatively comfortable life to serve their country in whatever way they were asked. They put their civilian lives on hold, endured separation from loved ones and put their country first, for however long they served. Some veterans put their lives on the line and suffered disabling wounds while they were in the military.
One of the distasteful aspects of the 2004 presidential election was a strategy employed by certain supporters of both major candidates to try and diminish the service record of the other candidate. What followed was a senseless debate about who might have received preferential treatment, the severity of one candidate's wounds and who had a better service record.
The military is not about politics. It's about service to country and placing the interests of your unit, your buddies above your own. Military personnel may return home and disagree on what political course the nation should take but while they're in uniform they answer orders with one unified voice.
This Veterans Day, while U.S. soldiers are fighting house to house in Fallujah for our safety, let's remember all the men and women who served their nation in the military. They stepped forward to serve their nation and they deserve our respect and gratitude.
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