Veterans Day remembrance comes in shadow of Sept. 11
At the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, the guns of the "War To End All Wars" were finally silent and the armistice began. President Woodrow Wilson prepared to travel to Europe to present his "12 Points" including the formation of a League of Nations. The League of Nations was expected to make the world finally safe for democracy. The Treaty of Versailles ending the war was expected to make war impossible.
Today we call this war to end all wars, World War I. The United States never joined the League, and there have been so many more wars that Armistice Day in 1954 became simply Veterans Day. But the meaning of the day and the sacrifices of all Americans in uniform must not ever become a simple memory.
Throughout the world, the symbol of America, our red, white and blue flag, has promoted equality, justice and economic growth. As FDR said, America promotes freedom from fear. As President Eisenhower said, America represents freedom from communist ideology. As President Kennedy said, America stands for the freedom to dream of reaching the stars. Freedom from fear, freedom against oppressive ideology and freedom to hope for the future is as critical today in 2001 as it has ever been since 1918.
Today's remembrance of American veterans rests in the shadows cast by the terror of Sept. 11. We must not let shadows cast by the terrorists eight weeks ago, overshadow the great sunrise earned by the sacrifices of American veterans over the past 83 years.
We must not allow our fear of violence, anthrax or smallpox to outweigh our love of God, country and family. We must rededicate ourselves daily to our faith in the Creator, our love of American values and our belief in the indestructibility of human goodness. Terrorists' ultimate goal is to destroy all three. Violence is only the means to achieve their goal.
Forty-five years ago last month, my father died overseas in the service of his country as a pilot in the U.S. Navy. From that day until my 18th birthday I was a dependent of the Navy as a war orphan. As a war orphan, I salute the American veterans today.
As a brother of a disabled Vietnam veteran, I ask all Americans to remember the sacrifices made by many Americans alive today in the service of our great country.
As an American, I call on all citizens, old and young, to remember our American veterans, past, present and future, as we celebrate Veterans Day 2001.
David R. Carey
Mayor of Soldotna
Nation must take time to reflect on sacrifices of its veterans
It is quite fitting that Armistice Day, Nov. 11, was chosen as a day in which our nation pays tribute to the veterans who have served so selflessly. Each November, Americans practice the most powerful civic duty available to a free people, casting a ballot in order to choose leaders of their choice. This nation must pay homage to the millions of Americans who have served their country in order to preserve this most valuable freedom. We are in debt to those millions -- far more than we will ever be able to repay.
Our nation's history is marked by trials and challenges that have forced us to take up arms to protect the ideals America was built upon. According to Pericles of ancient Greece, "freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
Recent events in Afghanistan are a prime example of this armed resistance.
At each confrontation, America has relied on the youth of her nation to stand, fight and possibly, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, to give "their fullest measure."
This calling has taken these men and women to nearly every corner of the world. Most volunteered, while some were compelled, but as a whole they fought admirably and with distinction in nearly every aspect. The ideals of democracy and self-determination were not always readily apparent in each situation, and yet when our nation called, these men and women answered. The outcome, however, is extremely clear today by simply exercising our coveted freedoms.
We must find time in our hectic schedules to reflect on the actions of these individuals. By doing so we carry on the tradition of respect and reverence that has for years cemented the generations in America together in expressing our deepest gratitude to these veterans. They shall not be forgotten. They shall not have taken such extraordinary actions merely to be placed in a history book for occasional perusing.
Many of these veterans are our grandparents, parents, coworkers, friends and relatives. America must make it clear to these survivors that their contributions are appreciated and memorialized.
Additionally, families whose loved ones never returned home deserve special consideration. They too have given the ultimate sacrifice in preservation of this great nation. As we remember those who have fallen, America must remember the mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, and children who also have paid an immeasurable price.
The smallest token of repayment can be to honor their loss and keep the memory of those lost alive and with us.
It is imperative that we share the sacrifice and contributions of those Americans who have made America's success possible. Words such as valor, bravery and honor have little meaning unless we can attach vivid real life examples of their meaning by keeping alive the memory of those who have served.
Share with the youth the tales of service and dedication to ideals. By doing so we can ensure that the generations to come will not take for granted the freedoms we enjoy, but cherish them as prizes that only victors can possess.
A. Roger Phillips
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