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Veterans’ Day

November 9, 2010
Submission from Elizabeth Ledvina, Tama County Veterans Affairs director
Veterans’ Day serves a very important purpose. It is the day we recognize not just those who have given their lives in war, but all those who have worn the uniforms of service. This day, above all, is an opportunity to celebrate the choice one makes to serve their country. For some, it meant the world wide conflict of WWII, or a lifetime of peacekeeping missions, or the tense standoff of the cold war. Others found themselves in the jungles of Vietnam or in Korea, Panama, and other conflicts in which we have asked our military to serve over the years. And of course we can’t forget that today, for many, service means multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, on active duty or as reservists, and Guard members who sacrifice twice when they give up their civilian jobs in order to serve our country. Roughly 1 percent of our population serves in the military. And as we consider the impact those individuals have had on the world, defending freedom and protecting democracy. So today, to honor that debt, I would ask you to take time to honor service members, past and present, in at least one of several ways. This is a day that is intended for giving thanks and reflecting on what has been sacrificed for our freedom Maybe we need to stop talking of veterans and their sacrifices. The thesaurus states that I could use the following words in place of sacrifice; admit defeat, yield, submission, capitulation, or forfeit. Without question the families of veterans are called upon to make numerous sacrifices often unable to understand why their husband, their father, now even their mother’s desire to leave them behind to risk everything often for an ungrateful public. So let us never forget the pain, suffering, loss and sacrifice that Veterans’ families have made and many still endure. But I am yet to meet a Veteran that feels the privilege of wearing the uniform of the United States Military was a sacrifice. I have never once felt that leading many of America’s best and bravest in armed ways was ever a sacrifice. It was honor and privilege worth dying for.   Maybe this Veteran’s Day we should make it our goal to thank every Veteran that we meet from here on for his or her accomplishments. When the final roll call is called and each of us is asked what you have accomplished during our lifetime. A Veteran can say I help make 13 little colonies into the most powerful and respected nation the world has ever known. A Veteran can say I helped defeat Hitler to keep free people free. A Veteran can say I stood my ground at a frozen reservoir to help hold back the Communist march saving millions from death.  A Veteran in blood-stained uniforms can say that I held a young man in the prime of his life barely out high school and gave him comfort as he grasp his last breathes thousands of miles from home. A Veteran can say I made a different in a child’s life with fighting for their freedom and our newest combat Veterans can say I help drive the Talban from power in Afghanistan to help keep America free from Terror. None of these Veterans accomplished what they did because it was a sacrifice but because it was the right thing to do. Most didn’t have to be asked.  A Veteran can look you in the eye and say been there, done that, but most of all I made a difference. So today let us honor our proud Veterans by not talking of their sacrifices but of their accomplishments. Let us never display pity or feel sorry for our Veterans because they were the chosen few that stood up to be counted when it matter the most. Veteran's Day is a day designated to honor the men and women who have fought and died for our country. The freedom that you have today is hard won by these soldiers who paid the ultimate price. They are the reason that you are free today. You can live where you want, work where you want, worship however you want, travel wherever you want, wear whatever you want, say whatever you want. Freedom isn't always free. It comes at a steep price. -Submitted by Elizabeth Ledvina Tama county Veterans Affairs director

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