The above photo is from the Memorial Day services today in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, my home town. I know most of the people in this photo. I know their families and I know their friends.
These guys show up. They show up for Memorial Day services. They show up for Veterans Day. They show up for deployments. They show up for funerals. They show up to decorate gravestones. The show up in classrooms to talk about service.
For them, it’s not a choice. It’s a duty.
For them, being an American isn’t an entitlement. It’s something to be earned. For them, being an American isn’t about paying someone else to fight your fight. It’s about getting your hands dirty. For them, being an American isn’t about waving the flag on the Fourth of July, but about honoring the flag everyday.
I’ve always felt that war is the result of a failure of leadership and diplomacy. I’ve always felt that if the people in power had to lead our soldiers into battle, we might never see another war.
But, I’ve never felt anything but respect, admiration, and thanks for our veterans and soldiers.