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Say thank you this Veterans Day

November 09, 2011
It's only fitting that Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are in the same month. Although Thanksgiving Day was established first, it's the sacrifices of our uniformed men and women that have preserved the freedoms for which we give thanks each year.

Those freedoms, of course, are from God, but it's His blessings that the brave members of our armed forces have fought to protect.

Most of our World War II veterans are no longer with us, but many of those who came after them — and whose sacrifices are of no lesser value — remain. Unfortunately, with the exception of school programs, they'll mostly go unremembered on Friday.

It hasn't always been like this, but the country isn't the same today as it was generations ago. Perhaps it's because of advances in technology — television, computers, video games that trivialize the sacrifices of war, the Internet — and the immediate gratification and almost lack of reality they've given us. That's certainly part of it, but it may go even deeper than that.

Perhaps it is because of the very freedoms themselves. With great blessings comes great responsibility and, unfortunately, we haven't acted very responsible at times.

Just take a look at the Occupy Wall Street crowd. They have every right to assemble and voice their concerns — squelch the First Amendment for any reason and this country, as well as the principles upon which it was founded, is no more — but a lot of what is being advocated is counterproductive.

It's OK to be angry and want an improved system, but calling for the scrapping of a capitalistic economy that has allowed the United States to be the most prosperous nation in history — for all of our current economic woes, look at Europe to see how bad things can get — in favor of socialism — again, look at Europe — doesn't make much sense.

But it's not just the well-intentioned but misguided OWS movement. Earlier this year, when I heard a college student who was protesting at the state capitol in Madison, Wis., say that he was frustrated because the owner of the restaurant where he worked demanded that he arrive on time and prepare the food in a specific way, I couldn't help but think, "Oh, bless your heart Ö"

(According to our friends from Alabama, "Bless your heart" is a Southerner's polite way of saying, "Wow. You're really not very bright, are you?")

Another OWS protester favored cutting the entire military budget. She apparently doesn't realize that her ability to share those thoughts is because of the very military that she believes should be defunded.

Again, it just doesn't make sense.

But that's what makes this country so special: our freedom to believe and say what we want. And we owe that freedom to the men and women who selflessly have, and continue to, put their lives on the line for it.

So, on Friday, let's actually take time to say thanks to, as well as offer a prayer for, every person who has served or is serving in the U.S. military. After all, it's only because of them that we can.

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Barbara Shaw
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