Today is Veterans Day, as I am sure you probably know. I just thinking about this and want to say a few words about the freedom we have in this country to fight in defense of it or to protest doing so.
First of all, I want you to know that I am very anti-war. In fact, that is what ultimately drove a wedge between my father and me in the 60's. I was very young (about 12) when the crack in our relationship appeared and turned into a chasm. Viet Nam. He thought the war was right, I did not. You might think a 12 year old could not have an opinion, but I sure did.
My opinion of wars and "confrontations" we have been in since has not been much different. I don't believe in sending young men and women to other countries to die. If you believe differently,that is your right. I respect that. And that is what this post is about today. Respect.
It frustrates me terribly when people on either side of this issue disrespect the other side. People, that is what freedom is about! The right to think differently. An important thing to remember when you think differently is that the "other" side deserves your respect.
So, today I want to remind all of us that the people who do choose to fight, who do go to war, are the bravest people in the world. To put your life on the line for your belief is the highest standard of courage known to man. That, my friends, is what a hero is.
Regardless of how you view war, regardless of what you think of a particular "involvement" our country gets into, the people who believe they are doing right and are willing to die for it deserve our respect and admiration. I want to tell them today that the bravery they show is some kind of wonderful. We need more of that bravery in other areas of society. We can admire the qualities and standing behind a belief even if we don't admire the actions.
Veterans of the past, present and future, please know that-while we may disargree-I will never look down on you for doing what you believe is the right thing to do. Heroes are not quarterbacks, or race car drivers, or actors who put on some benefit dinner. Heroes are willing to die for what they believe. Heroes can die in a protest, fighting against war. Heroes can get blown up fighting in a war because they believe they are doing the right thing.
Let's not forget that standing up for what one thinks is right is a honorable thing to do. Let's all fight to make sure that right is never taken away from any of us. After all, if we can't believe how we feel in our heart and our gut, what kind of freedom do we really have? 1984 may be my favorite book, but I don't ever want to live it. We are dangerously close to that already.