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Across this globe and across this county, men and women have gone to war to defend our freedom, our rights and our way of life.
They have chosen to serve, accepted their duty and risked their lives for the benefit of all of us.
And, as another Veterans Day approaches, we can’t as a people underestimate the decisions of those citizens and their positive impacts on our world.
We shouldn’t – nay can’t – minimize how the courage of such a commitment has maintained the best things the world has to offer: life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
In many countries outside influences have bullied into submission the basic and human freedoms that we consider inalienable and God-given.
We watch in horror as innocent people die because of greed and a hunger for power.
No, there is no shortage of those cardinal sins among Americans, but we have in our history accepted those foibles as ours to control – rather than allowing them to control us – because we have remained for the most part united in a cause that prevails over all of us.
That’s why so many enlist in our armed forces, accept difficult assignments without a second thought and pridefully extend through both diligence and force the cause of protecting our freedom.
You know someone who has been there and done that, someone who survived or perhaps someone who didn’t.
You have respected those who wear the uniform because you see what they value and embrace all that they defend.
On Thursday you will see photographs and hear comments about many of them. Their stories and images will inundate the national news.
Some of those stories will have heroic endings, some tragic and still others a bit of both.
But no matter how close you are to those who serve, no matter what you hear and how heartfelt you bear it, please do so while remembering how this story ends for all of us.
We will awaken Thursday a free and united people against the influences of evil, those who crusade for personal gain and with no cause greater than our own God-chosen path.
And, in this case at least, you don’t have to look far to locate someone to thank.
In the armed forces, when someone passes, jets often fly in what is called the “missing man formation,” to memorialize the one lost from the team.
On Veterans Day, many families will gather in honor of a family member and include at a table or in a service their own versions of the missing man (or woman) formation.
We believe those vacant places form our monument to those who have given so much for so long for so many.
We honor each and every one, and we suggest that should extend far beyond one simple day.