What do these mean to you?
Do you know someone who wore these or who wears them now? They don’t mean the same thing to everybody. To some they are merely the identification of a member of our Armed Forces, while to others they are the life and friendship of a fallen buddy, a “brother in arms” for whom they mourn.
Our Armed Forces personnel, past and present, wrote a “blank check” with their very lives to serve and protect the government and the people of the United States at any and all cost. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, while others were maimed physically and/or mentally. Not all service men and women have fought or will fight in combat against an enemy of the United States, but all of them made the commitment to serve and protect the United States of America. In the words of President Harry S. Truman, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
These little pieces of metal engraved with the precious information of a life mean the Pledge of Allegiance that this Marine, airman, soldier or sailor made to this country; they represent the American Flag that he or she pledged to defend. They mean honor, courage, commitment, and sacrifice by this country’s sons and daughters who wore and who wear them now. To me, these are the price of freedom.
In President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech on Jan. 20, 1961, he declared: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” THAT’S what those who have worn and those who still wear these little pieces of metal have done. These little pieces of metal represent SO MUCH! If not for our veterans and troops, what freedoms would you be willing to give up? Please honor our veterans and troops on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it, it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” (Author unknown)
Lois A. Schaefer is State Americanism Chairman VFW Auxiliary Department of North Dakota