Every time Veterans Day and Memorial Day come around, my mind recalls to the many times I've attended parades and special observances put on by the cities in our area and veterans organizations. Several of those times my husband, Duane, participated in parades and events as a candidate for U.S. Congress. As a decorated Vietnam Vet he always received a warm welcome, well, except for a couple of the very left-coast towns.
When our sons were growing up we would get out the picture albums of Duane's time in the Army, talk about why we observed these holidays in America, and after dinner, which was usually a barbecue, we'd sit down and watch a movie or documentary about one of the wars our Armed Forces have fought in.
Some will think that what we did was indoctrinate our sons in a pro-war mindset. But, actually we were educating them in the realities of war. We wanted to instill in them an appreciation for those who laid their lives on the line to protect the rest of us, and the freedoms we enjoy. We also wanted to make sure they had no romantic ideas about war, as young boys can have. If the time ever came for them to go to war it would be with their eyes wide open and the cost counted.
There is no glamour in war. War is hell on earth. But, even the Bible states that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is, unfortunately, part of life on planet earth. While we debate, and work and pray for peace, wars still rage.
And while I understand the reasons some choose a passivist position, passivity never brings peace. It only allows the rule of aggressive, totalitarian governments and leaders.
So, until the earth's weapons are turned into plowshares, let us honor the brave men and women who have served and died on behalf of our country, on behalf of freedom.
I mean, really honor them, not just in sentiment, but with action.
Let's also take the time to not only educate our children and grandchildren about the realities of war and peace, but foster a genuine appreciation for freedom, and for those who fight to preserve it.
Here are a few ideas you may want to use to make this Memorial Day a memorable one:
~Fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
~Fly the 'POW/MIA Flag.
~Participate in a "National Moment of Remembrance" at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day and the sacrifices paid.
~Visit veterans in the hospital.
~Donate to aid disabled veterans.
~Renew a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen soldiers.
This Veterans Day make sure you remember, and encourage others to remember, why we have this day off.
Other Commentaries by Sharon Hughes
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