Find a Way to Say 'Thank You' to a Veteran Today
By Yvonne Gale
Special to The Pilot
Another presidential election has passed, and we wait to see if the winner is going to rescue America with his policies.
We need rescuing from high unemployment and poverty rates, the threat of Iran acquiring the nuclear bomb, and terrorists launching another strike against American like 9/11. We need rescuing from the fiscal debacle facing the nation; we need rescuing from lower standards of living due to high energy and food costs.
Americans like to hope that a super person will come to their rescue. As a child I loved to watch the show "Mighty Mouse." I would sing along with the lyrics, "Here he comes to save the day, Mighty Mouse is on his way."
My father's generation appreciated cowboys like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Sky King, who always represented good overcoming evil. Later heroes were Rambo, Charles Bronson in "Death Wish" and "Dirty Harry." How many times have you wanted to say to someone: "Go ahead, make my day."
Today Batman, Spider-Man and the legendary James Bond are favorites who battle against evildoers who want to take power and destroy the world.
We like these heroes because they assume the challenge and danger we don't want to endure. We believe the problems are too big or too scary for ordinary individuals to confront.
It is all right to live in fantasy land for entertainment, but when it comes to confronting personal, social and national problems, it is necessary to accept reality.
And yes, accepting reality is scary. There are terrorists around the world working diligently to hatch up plots to blow up airplanes and embassies and kill Americans. Our children may not have a better standard of living than we have had. Our government officials have decided that working together for the good of the country is not worth the effort.
America has a lot of challenges to face, but on this Veterans Day, American citizens need to reflect on how our military personnel has been coming to our rescue throughout history. Thousands of men gave their lives in two world wars to rescue the world from ruthless dictators who didn't care about humanity, but about power and exploitation.
Since 1973, Americans have enlisted voluntarily to serve this country. Our men, along with the women who represent 15 percent of the military today, are required to leave their families and the safety of their homes to protect American interests in many foreign countries, whether it has been in Korea and Vietnam in the past or in Iraq or Afghanistan today. The National Guard is always present in national disasters to provide security and assistance.
There are soldiers who are serving their eighth or ninth deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many are returning home with horrific physical injuries and mental problems. Military families miss many special memories such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays because their loved ones are stationed away from their homes or deployed.
For many people, Veterans Day is simply a day off work or a day to shop for special sales. I challenge all Americans to make this year's Veterans Day a special one by making a gesture of thank-you to our veterans and active military personnel.
Write a note to a soldier overseas, pay for the meal of a military family you see eating at a restaurant, offer to baby-sit for a military spouse, or attend a Veterans Day ceremony. There are so many ways to express your gratitude.
My husband and I pray for our troops every night at the dinner table. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say to all veterans, members of the military, and their families: I am in awe of your service to this country, and I thank you.
Yvonne Gale, a retired schoolteacher, lives in Pinehurst.
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