Our veterans have sacrificed more than words can express in our name. They deployed without question or complaint and fought in foreign lands on our behalf. They stood, and our soldiers still stand, at the gate facing evil that resides just outside.
They face this evil so we do not have to.
It takes an extraordinary human being to wear the uniform of their nations military, and it takes a selfless courage to devote oneself to serving the people and doing the dirty, bloody deeds that war forces our warriors to conduct.
When these guardians of our way of life return home they ask for nothing from us.
Once a year we observe the solemn day of remembrance, wear our poppies, and when we encounter a veteran we say thank-you.
We are asked to do nothing more.
Being a veteran myself the sacrifices of those who came before and those who serve today is always front of mind. I often wonder what the young kid who scrambled over the parapet of a First World War trench would ask of us. As these soldiers look upon us, from whatever afterlife may exist, I wonder if they look upon us as being the kind of individuals who are worthy of their pain and suffering. It is impossible to know what the dead think of us, however, that does not stop us from being the type of human being that they would be proud to have sacrificed their future for.
So instead of just thanking a veteran, thank them and make a promise to be worthy of their sacrifice.
Then fulfil that promise.
If an 18-year-old kid can survive weeks of constant shelling, push through the pain of trench foot, endure the gas attacks, and then upon a whistle blast rise up to climb over the parapet moving towards the enemy into almost certain death, you can manage to be the kind of person they would be proud to die for.
You can be disciplined and honourable, you can face your fears which pale in comparison to the terror these young men faced. You can achieve the dreams that these men never got to have and you can succeed in every aspect of life because they gave up theirs so you can have yours.
You can see every obstacle and challenge as your own parapet and if they can climb theirs into death you can conquer yours because nothing you will face in life is ever going to be as bad as an average day of trench warfare.
We live in the greatest nation on this globe. We live in peace and face none of the struggles that so many others around this third rock from the sun face daily. We also have done nothing to earn it. We are also asked to do nothing to earn it so the least we can do is honour those who stand on guard for thee by being worthy of the gift of freedom we have been granted for simply living here.
Michael Major, Walnut Grove
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