Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mom, What is a Veteran?


Mom, What is a Veteran?
Amanda Bennett

And so begins our search to answer the question of the day for November 11th - "Mom, what is a veteran?" This generation of children has been unusually protected from much, if any, exposure to war and soldiers and military importance. So, when they see or hear reference to the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, they don't understand the significance or relevance to their lives. We can use this holiday as the perfect springboard to learning more about our history, our blessings, and the brave men and women who have served to protect us, and all that we hold dear.

Veterans Day - what does it mean to you? The history of this holiday may be unknown to many of us, and yet it exists because of the strength and convictions of generations past that we should remember our veterans and their sacrifices for our peace and protection. There was a price paid for the freedom that we enjoy, and this freedom still needs our protection. While we enjoy peace, it is with an understanding that this peace has been bought with the efforts of our veterans, and this holiday can help us express our gratitude for their efforts and beliefs and sacrifices. On this holiday, we honor all of our veterans. Those in the military serve in all kinds of jobs - soldiers, doctors, nurses, pilots, engineers, astronauts, and so much more. They all work hard to protect and defend America, and we should be grateful to them all.

I heard recently that there is a shortage of military buglers to play "Taps" at military funerals - because so many of our military veterans are passing away, particularly those from the World Wars. While our children haven't really been exposed to a "war" as we think of it, they do need an appreciation for those who have bravely served. Use this holiday to become familiar with veterans - their sacrifice and their courage. Learn more about the American military system - how it protects us today and what is happening with our defense. Use this opportunity to learn more about the various organizations that help support out veterans - the Veterans Administration (VA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and others.

This holiday has special significance to many members of our family as well as our friends. Though often quiet about their service, these people have a wealth of information and experience that they might be willing to share with our students about their service, training, and ideas - if asked. By learning more about the people and their participation, we can carry on the tradition and remembrance with pride.

With this holiday, let's bring out the flag and applaud our veterans. Let us teach these things to our children, so that we never take our freedom and liberty for granted. All of our veterans deserve our appreciation and remembrance. It is now the next generation's responsibility to protect and defend our country, our God-given rights, and our freedoms.

"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men... It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event."  Samuel Adams, 1771

"The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army... We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die..."
George Washington, speech delivered to his army, 1776

"To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might. So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching. More than that, you must be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhaps a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out. All that is required of you is that you should go somewhither as hard as ever you can. The rest belongs to fate...:"     Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1884

"There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation." James Madison, 1788


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