Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:November 11th, 2012 10:42 EST
A Veteran's Day Message to the Protected

A Veteran's Day Message to the Protected

By Philip Lawrence

As I awakend on a cool February morning in 1991, I found myself in a foreign land, wearing the uniform of a warrior and carrying - along with my brothers - the weight of a nation on my back.  We went through the breach that morning, attacking the Iraq forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq and forcing them to withdraw back into Iraq after a four-day ground war (How I arrived at that point and place in history and the events that followed is the subject of my upcoming book, Mirages and Flashbacks: Reflections of a Front-Line Gulf War Marine).  

Seventeen years later, as another Veteran`s Day approaches, I`m not going to ask you to thank me or another veteran for his or her service nor am I going to guilt you into attending a parade or other veterans` day event.  If you want to go on vacation, catch up on personal business, work, sleep late, spend the day with someone you love, or do whatever, please do so and please don`t feel any guilt. 

To be sure, the service of America`s veterans is honored by those who thank us, attend our parades and visit us in veteran`s hospitals.  But our service is also honored by every American who exercises the freedoms and rights we`ve fought to defend.  Our service is honored by those who attend rallies to support us and by those who attend rallies to oppose the policies of government.  Our service is honored by those who go to church or synagogue or mosque and worship as they please and by those who don`t. 

Our service is honored when revolutions are carried out at the ballot box instead of at the point of a gun.  Our service is honored by Americans who wave our flag and by those who burn it.  Our service is honored when our newspapers and other media can print and say what they want without censorship from the government.  

Our service is only dishonored when one person or group of persons attempts to curb the freedoms and rights of others.  Case in point: this past summer, a baseball fan who was attending a game in Yankee Stadium was accosted by a police officer - one of many police officers assigned at the stadium to provide security that day - because the fan refused to stay in his seat during the playing of God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch.  My service isn`t honored when the government - in this case a New York City police officer - can force a citizen to stay in his seat at a baseball game against his will (To be fair to the police officer, I`m sure he thought he was doing the right thing).  

So on this Veterans Day, exercise your freedom to decide how you want to spend the day and with whom you want to spend it and let others decide for themselves as well.  This day of freedom is brought to you compliments of America`s veterans.