Guest Post: Veterans Day is for Ordinary People Accomplishing the Extraordinary

 
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army_mil-13771-2009-08-18-140811 A Guest Post by The American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill. Pictured above is Specialist Monica Brown receiving her Silver Star. Photo by Pfc. Scott Davis. When then-Governor Ronald Reagan introduced returning POW John McCain at a speaking engagement in 1974, the future president asked, “Where do we find such men?” He was speaking of many veterans, when he answered, “We find them in our streets, in the office, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.” In other words, President Reagan was referring to ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. And it isn’t just the men. Army Spc. Monica Brown was still a teenager when she went on a routine patrol as a medic in Afghanistan in 2007. Caught under insurgent fire in Paktika Province, she and her platoon sergeant ran a few hundred yards toward a burning Humvee. Dodging rounds by only inches, Brown helped pull injured soldiers from the vehicle and rendered life-saving first aid. For her actions, she was awarded a Silver Star, the nation’s third highest combat decoration. When she enlisted at age 17, the native of Lake Jackson, Texas, had hopes of becoming an X-ray technician, but the Army convinced her that being a medic would offer her the greatest opportunity to help her fellow soldiers. But to credit the Monica Browns and other brave heroes in our military with helping only their comrades is short-sighted. They are helping us. It is America, not America’s military that al Qaeda and other terrorists have declared war on. Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title “military veteran,” and what a list of accomplishments can those 10 percent claim. From defeating Communism, Fascism and Imperialism, to keeping the peace during the Cold War and battling terrorism today, America owes a debt to her veterans that can never be fully repaid. Historians have said that Dwight Eisenhower was prouder of being a soldier than he was of being the president. While relatively few veterans reach the rank of general, pride in ones’ military service is a bond shared by nearly all who have served. The pride is on display on every obituary page in the country, where military service – regardless of how many decades have passed and subsequent achievements reached – is mentioned with the death notice of nearly every deceased veteran. Can any CEO or distinguished Ivy League graduate truly claim to have more responsibility than the 20-year-old squad leader walking a patrol in Afghanistan or Iraq? While the successful real estate mogul may have sold hundreds of homes and raised a wonderful family, what single accomplishment tops the decisive actions he took during the siege of Khe Sanh, which saved the lives of several of his fellow Marines? As leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization, it is my job to remember the brave men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States military. The Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion calls on us to “preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars.” But those who have not served, in fact, all Americans, should honor the patriots who have. The American Legion, www.legion.org, supports our heroes through programs such as Heroes to Hometowns, Operation Comfort Warriors and ready-to-assist service officers. We support the families of veterans through a Family Support Network, the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund and Temporary Financial Assistance, just to name a few of our programs. We call on all Americans to thank veterans and let them know that their sacrifices are appreciated. Veterans Day is not about sales at the local retail mall. It’s about honoring our heroes. While veterans are often ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things, it is often an extraordinary family that supports the ordinary veteran. And it is the veterans that have given us this extraordinary country.
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Medics have a sense of goodwill towards all by default of their trainings... in Iraq, and I am sure to assume the same for Afghanistan, a medic bridges the gap between the communities and the mission; she gives hope to a hopeless world and brings a feel of warmth to the soldiers and the people we protect…

I congratulate Brown for her recognition, and respect her for her heroism… but to her, as it is the same for all medics, it is a sense of duty and obligation, a sense of pride and purpose, to perform…

I thank Commander Hill for his call to thank our fellow veterans. But as a veteran and a Legionnaire, I want to call to all veterans and servicemembers to exemplify Brown’s sense of duty, heroism, pride and purpose, to become leaders in their communities; to act with goodwill to their fellow citizens… on this Veterans Day, let’s show the nation not only did we proudly protect the ideals of this nation, but we are willing to be empowered to do justice to our communities…

Stumbled on your website from the latest hot topic on Google Trends. Read the whole article and i must have to say that me and my husband loved reading your post.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.