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Time to Thank a Veteran

On Monday, May 29, we observe Memorial Day. It's an occasion set aside to honor those who died in active military service.

While observation of Memorial Day unofficially began in the years following the Civil War, it became official in 1971 in the United States.

Why honor veterans, both alive and dead? Let's pull back the curtain on the past to see the reason.

Colonies of settlers in America struggled in the years prior to 1776. They paid heavy taxes for good shipped from the mother country, England, yet were not allowed to have a say in the government of their own land. "Taxation without representation" became their battle cry.

Brave men risked their lives and personal fortunes in a daring plan. They would break free from the yoke of England's unreasonable restraints and form a new government based upon free enterprise and representation in government.

Who were these 56 men? They were not wild-eyed radicals but God-fearing men: merchants, educated gentlemen farmers, physicians, a minister--and many were lawyers. Their Declaration of Independence is a masterpiece of human thought.

Fast forward a few years. During the Revolutionary War, men crouched behind trees and boulders and dodged musket balls so their loved ones could be free.

In yet later years, others fought overseas from foxholes and trenches on frozen ground or in sweltering desert and jungle conditions. They were ordinary people--factory workers, teachers, farmers--even future politicians, perhaps your relatives and mine.

Their families became one-parent households because these brave men paid the ultimate sacrifice. They wanted their children to be free from tyranny.

Some think our flag is just a piece of cloth. They can't understand why old men watching patriotic parades stand still, salute and get teary-eyed when the flag passes by, while young people yawn and look at their phones.

Perhaps those military veterans remember the extreme privation they underwent so those of us living now could enjoy parades and cookouts. Or maybe they remember their battle buddies who didn't get to come home. They know the meaning of sacrifice.

Dave Roever (pronounced Reever), a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran, survived being blown up by a grenade. In a radio interview Roever related his life goal now is ministering to fellow soldiers coping with loss, and even death of those they served alongside.

Once, Roever stood by the side of a 19-year-old soldier who had only minutes to live. He said, "Sir, this is not a hospital you are in; it's a sanctuary. And this is not a gurney you're lying on; it's an altar. From a grateful nation, I would like to say thank you."

Freedom comes with a price. Some gave up their plans and paid with their lives. Yet all military personnel have sacrificed with us in mind.

If you are a veteran, many thanks for your sacrifice. And to those six feet under--we Remember you today.

Any veterans you would like to honor? Tell us about them below. I will start: my brother, two sons, and a son-in-law.


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