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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Spotlight now shines brighter on veterans

Monday, November 12, 2001

Today's Veterans' Day observances are shrouded in ultra-patriotism as American finds a common ground with the Sept. 11 attacks on American soil. As everyone agrees, every Veterans' Day should carry the level of emotion but of course that's simply not the case.

Today's observances will focus all of our attention on those brave men and women who have served this nation with honor and pride. Special emphasis will flow to the remaining World War II veterans whose numbers are declining daily. I can't think of a more appropriate stopping point in time for this important reflection.

Try as we might, the youth of today may never fully appreciate the sacrifices made by the veterans of our past. Today's youth cannot imagine the spirit of unity and purpose that has engulfed this nation during times of conflict. Our current national unity is reassuring but doesn't actually compare with the sentiments that were commonplace during the days of World War II. Thus today's ceremonies are extremely important.

Starting just a few years ago as the 50th anniversary of World War II events rolled around, our nation has begun to appreciate and thank those veterans of the second world war. That appreciation, I believe, was always just below the surface. But now as time has eroded the memories of that great conflict, we cling to those who made history with their sacrifices. We can never fully repay those who served this nation with such great honor.

Today of course we face a different conflict. It's heart-warming to recognize the sense of pride and purpose that abounds in our nation. Today's conflict is far different from those of our fathers' generation. But the fight for liberty and freedom remains the same regardless of the enemy. And that single purpose results in our amazing show of national pride that is evident everywhere.

The day may come when our Vietnam veterans are shown the level of appreciation afforded to the World War II veterans. But that day has yet to arrive. Time will someday place those courageous men and women in the spotlight. Today however the stage belongs to the World War II veterans whose sacrifices are the source of history.

America will rally to a national cause if given the opportunity. Voices of dissent will fall silent as the "real" America joins hands in unity. We understandably feel a special kinship with our veterans today knowing the importance of their mission and position in our society. Had the Sept. 11 events not unfolded, today's observances would sadly be somewhat routine. But because of that tragic day, the spotlight will shine a little brighter on those who make these important sacrifices.

In so many ways, it's about time!

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