Our View: Honor veterans young and old

DKS Editors

When many picture American veterans, images of troops storming the beaches of Normandy or marching through the jungles of Vietnam appear. These moments in time are our Washington, D.C., monuments. They are our LIFE magazine photos.

They aren’t entirely accurate.

These heroic characters we picture aren’t the only ones who must be honored and remembered. Not all veterans came from World Wars I or II and the Vietnam War. They are not all retired men and women enjoying their twilight years – playing golf and reminiscing the good old days.

Veterans can be our age. New veterans are being added to the tally every day as they re-enter the United States. There are veterans among us, dressed in the same jeans and T-shirts we wear today.

We can’t ever forget the men and women who came before us and defended our liberty and freedom. We must also remember that these are not just people stuck in history; they’re here all around us. Which is perfect, because we need to say, “Thank you.”

Regardless of whether you disagreed with the war in Vietnam or the current Iraq War, we should be supporting the troops. War is probably never the answer, but oftentimes we don’t get the question asked in the first place – so we must depend on these brave people to defend something that was never our choice.

War is never all heroism and bravery. It’s never all courageous battles and triumphant flag raisings. It’s not all about mailing photos home and dog tags for the future wife. In war there is death, there is sacrifice and there are lost battles. As in everyone’s life, there are good days and there are bad days. In many ways, these veterans are no different than you and I – but they give up much more than many of us can ever fathom.

Tomorrow, honor your defenders. Send a small donation to a veterans’ organization. Volunteer at a veterans’ shelter. Educate yourself on their sacrifices by reading a book or watching a movie about conflicts of the past.

But don’t ever forget what these men and women have done for all of us.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.