"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
Veterans are not content to do nothing. We may join the military because it provides a job, educational opportunities, or medical care. But we stay because we know we make a difference. We make a difference in the countries that we serve in. Not everyone there respects or admires or appreciates us -- but enough do that the values we hold as Americans, principles of free speech, free worship, free assembly and free press get planted in enough hearts that perhaps someday the citizens of those countries will embrace them as we do. The reason we don't expect respect or admiration by everyone in those countries is because we know we aren't respected or admired by everyone in our HOME country! But that's okay. We don't want you to pat us on the back one day a year and feel good about having loved a veteran that day.
We want what every American wants. We want to raise our families in peace and security. We want to be paid an amount of money that is sufficient for our needs with just a little bit more in order to be able to take care of our families should something happen to us. We want to have adequate health care. We want respect for our choice of profession. We don't join the all-volunteer military because we don't have other choices. We want you to pray for our safety and our mission to succeed. The sooner it does, the sooner we get to be back home with our families.
If someone were to quantify the help and love expressed by US Servicemen and Women throughout the world in terms of helping orphanages, villages, towns, infrastructures, and individual people regain their self-worth, the cost benefit to mankind would be ENORMOUS. Those who see American servicemen as enemies simply do not know their hearts. They are the most compassionate and loving people that some of the tribesmen in Afghanistan and Iraq have ever met. They give and give and give and give again, texting their loved ones back home to send more (toys, clothes, warm things) for them to give away. Rather than expecting a payback from people they give to, they just give. People in many parts of the world do not understand this. They are too used to always looking for a quid pro quo because it is their way of life.
I am so incredibly proud of our servicemen and women. They exemplify the best of what is the American character -- compassion, warmth, mercy, and a hatred for corruption and exploitation of the weak. Thank you to all of my brothers and sisters presently and formerly in uniform. You make my day!
And, from an e-mail that was forwarded to me: