No greater heroes than our veterans

We honor our veterans today — for the freedoms they’ve ensured; for the protection they provide; for the call they so bravely answer; for their willingness to offer their own life in the name of our country.

In unselfish and countless ways, men and women throughout history have offered themselves to the call to duty, one that has taken them across the world and into dangerous, violent places where their fates were — and continue to be today — uncertain, their return home not always likely.

One cannot celebrate Veterans Day today without thinking of the countless thousands of men and women still in harm’s way in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, battling vicious hate-mongers like Isis. Like those who came before them, these brave soldiers are putting their lives on the line each and every day in service to each and every one of us.

And we thank them.

We may question why war, as we’ve done throughout history; we may even question why our soldiers have to be in foreign lands tending to business that, on the surface at least, has little to do with America, but we should never question the loyalty, the selfless acts of bravery and the willingness to serve that each of those who wear this country’s uniforms have given and continue to give when the call goes out.

They answer with an unwavering conviction just as every soldier who has come before them has done. It’s a loyalty hard to fathom, one that often goes without consideration until we celebrate holidays like the one we observe today, paying a much deserved tribute to some of our most unselfish and often unsung heroes.

Today, as we contemplate all that has happened in our country since its birth, and all those who have given so much of themselves, let us remember with love and respect all our veterans. Let us lift our voices in praise and prayer for the hundreds of thousands of men and women across the United States who have served our country so valiantly.

They have stepped into harm’s way with a bravery many of us cannot imagine; they have answered the call — to help in times of war and disaster, in times of medical emergency and peacekeeping.

Some are young, just starting their heroic careers; others are older now, with well-weathered faces and hands, hands which battled on the front lines, hands which acted as a shield to protect their brother and sister and our country, hands which tell the story of the tragedies they have experienced, the endurance they had, the love and patriotism they felt and, to this day, still feel.

Their faces, too, paint a picture of courage and honor, the same picture painted by our soldiers of today, just as patriotic, just as courageous, and just as selfless in their service to our country.

Though often animated and kind, thoughtful and thought-provoking, all their faces often change quickly, with the sound of a plane, the backfiring of a car, a shot fired from a gun. It is then that the stories come alive again, and their faces tell us of battles lost and wars won.

We owe them so much, yet compared to the price they have paid, and continue to pay, we have little to give.

But give we should, and not just on special days set aside to honor them. Instead, we should give in some way to them each and every day. Our veterans deserve our remembrance; they merit our respect, our love and our benevolence. They have earned our thanks.