Tom Brokaw called them "the greatest generation." It was a reference to the men and women who survived the Great Depression and went on to fight in the largest conflict planet Earth has seen to this point. They were men and women just like you and me who understood the value of freedom and that those freedoms should not just be guaranteed for Americans, but for all who were under the tyranny of Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini. So, they left the farms, the factories and their families to take on the threats that faced the world. They were selfless, ambitious, young and a little bit crazy. But they loved America and were willing to do anything to insure that her light continued to shine brightly for the generations that followed.
Flash forward 60 plus years. It's a completely different culture we live in. One that quite literally confuses the minds of those from that great generation who are still living. It's a world where we scream about rights but refuse to acknowledge that those rights do not come without sacrifice. They do not come without a willingness to take responsibility. We are raising generation after generation of people who just don't know what liberty means...or at what cost it comes.
We have young adults who will herald a Hollywood "star" because they speak up about some issue. These same young adults refuse to support the troops who live and die so that star can speak without fear. Our kids believe that this world revolves around them and their comforts. They confuse wants with needs and rights with privileges. They don't understand the value of a life lived well--one that chooses to live for others rather than for themselves.
No one knows what the future of this nation really holds. I can tell you this. The longer we live believing that we deserve everything without it costing us anything, the more dangerous our culture becomes. The more we believe that it is the responsibility of a government to do what only individuals should do for themselves, the greater the likelihood that we will find ourselves slipping into the apathetic morass that was Nazi Germany. I believe our fathers and grandfathers deserve more. They were the ones who stormed the shores at Normandy. They flew the B-52s that silenced the guns of the Empire of Japan. They bled on the shores of Sicily, Dunkirk, and Iwo Jima. They led the offensive at Tet, stood in the face of communism and are guarding the barren sands of Afghanistan and Iraq. This Veteran's Day, their blood cries out, "Will you remember the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, Vietnam and the Twin Towers?"
May we never forget that freedom comes with a price and that price is too high to sacrifice our liberties for comfort, for convenience or because we no longer care enough to carry the banner.
On this Veteran's Day, I want to say "thank you" to every young man and woman who has ever proudly worn the uniform of the United States of America. Whether it was peace time or war, your sacrifices are what has made us great. May we always remember the cost of freedom...