A Tribute to America’s Brave Men and Women

Let's honor and support those who served, but this should also be our mission every day.

By: Tony Traficante, a Contributing Editor for ISDA and a retired Lt. Colonel of the U.S. Army

“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death!” ⁓Sun Zhu

Our Armed Forces have endowed us with the extraordinary gifts of peace and freedom. The very foundation of our nation was built on the backs of our courageous military men and women.

The military are everyday people, and yet they are unique. You know them as family, neighbors, friends and co-workers. They come from all walks of life, with a sense of honor, duty, and conviction, proud to wear their uniforms!

They know the risks of military duty and understand the demands of sacrifice and discipline. They don’t like being away from loved ones, but they accept they must. They go where ordered, to unknown lands, to fight in hot desert heat, infested jungles, across rugged mountains, and through freezing cold. They know…some will come back, and some won’t. When they return home, too many will face new demons.

So many will struggle with a lifetime of unimaginable wounds and pain. There will be a significant number who are unemployed and homeless. Sadly, those who can no longer tolerate the pain, will surrender to suicide — and tragically, more will come home in flag-draped boxes.

Our soldiers will have “done their job,” will we do ours? It is not enough to remember them with tributes of cold, hard stone memorials. More is needed to return them to normalcy. It is our responsibility to see they enjoy the peace for which they fought, to restore their broken bodies, to recover their troubled minds, and strengthen their spiritual well-being!

The Veterans Day ceremonies are important, and they are appreciated and deserving. But, when the parades have passed by, and the flags are lowered, and the sounds of “TAPS” have faded, the hurt, wounds and the loneliness will still be there. And we need to be there, also.

Veterans Day is a reminder that we have much to be thankful for, and many to thank. It is a day to honor our Veterans and the courageous men and women who continue to stand guard.

We must take time to pay homage to the brave who sacrificed their lives for the country, and to the hundreds that are missing. And, finally, let us not forget the families who suffer daily as they anxiously await the return of loved ones.

Our military men and women have never failed us, we must not fail them.

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