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By Jesse Utz 

Veterans Day, a day to celebrate and remember

Jess Shut Up


What would this country look like if we did not have men and women who gave their lives for us? Think about that a second or two. Yes, our country, at times, is pretty screwed up, but that is what freedom can do. It can give us a false sense of entitlement. Or is it false? Everything we say and do in this country has been bought with a price. That price that was paid in full on foreign shores, on salty seas and even on our home soil; it was paid in blood by Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and civilian men and women. Entitled, some would say, yes. Others would say no.

But do we truly know what was bought by these lost lives? We always answer, “freedom,” and drop it at that. That is the correct answer, but there is more to it than freedom, and to get that we have to know just what was lost.

Think back to Revolutionary times and consider how fathers, sons, uncles and, in some cases, full generations were wiped out by war, a war for our freedom to decide how we would live and govern our own lives and future. Then came a civil war, A war based on moral values and land, more deaths and decisions that would fracture families for a long time.

These two wars cost plenty, and some would say we never really recovered from these battles. But then freedom took a different tone. We not only started to fight wars of our own but we battled for others’ entitlement to freedom. We took on big enemies who were hated by the world, and more blood poured and more families lost loved ones. World Wars I and II were fought against the monstrosities that were happening abroad, and we defeated the monster.

Vietnam was understandably a controversial engagement, but nonetheless we sent more troops to other lands, and yet again some came back injured and bloodied and scarred for life. Others did not come back at all. This time, entire communities seemed to be damaged by the effect of fighting for freedom.

There have been many conflicts since. Thousands more died and we are still fighting around the globe for freedom. A freedom that seems to never come.

Or has it. We still sit at home in our comfy chairs and watch the news. We still complain about the candidates from our kitchen tables. We still go to school and argue with the teachers about their views. We go to the church we want to or don’t go at all. We have the right to do any job we want or not go to work at all. We can carry a gun, providing and protecting our families. Freedom to do or not to do whatever we want.

I, for one, choose to remember. Remember the fallen. Remember the scarred, remember the disabled. But most of all, remember what was lost so that I could have freedom, freedom that sometimes can be blurred with entitlement, but never the less, is freedom.

Thank you, all veterans, no matter how long your service was or if it was during wartime or peacetime. I salute you and I know how much my freedom cost. It was paid in blood, sweat and tears by men and women from all races and nationalities, and it still is. Today there are soldiers lined up, across from an enemy, for me and you. Thank you, and God Bless America.

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