When Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” more than 200 years ago, he called America “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Those words are as true today as they were then.
Throughout this nation’s history, America’s soldiers, sailors, air personnel, Marines and Coast Guard personnel have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, aid our friends and allies, and turn back aggressors.
We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000 American service members who died in battle or the 1.4 million who were wounded. We can, however, recognize and thank the 25 million veterans who are still living today.
These words are inscribed on the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C: “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and people they never met.”
Those words apply equally among many of our World War I, World War II, Vietnam War and Gulf War veterans as well. They apply to today’s active-duty service members – tomorrow’s veterans – who are helping to maintain peace throughout the world. It is our privilege to say “thank you” to all of America’s veterans, to let them know we appreciate them for their sacrifices.
The price of freedom is high. We cannot afford to forget those willing to pay it. Come Nov. 11, Veterans Day, we celebrate America’s veterans for keeping this nation “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Tobin J. Wendt
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin