Younger generations owe thanks

Published 3:46 am Wednesday, November 13, 2002

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP - Managing Editor
I don't recall be very good at too many thing growing up as a child. I did just enough in school to maintain average grades; lacked the intensity, aggressiveness and interest needed to excel in sports and my social life consisted of a few good friends who would put up with me. Heck, I couldn't even win a game of bingo.
But, there was one thing I excelled at - war. What is war? Well, some kids call it army while others played a version known as capture the flag. But, it all comes down to two teams of boys going out into the woods, hiding from each other, sneaking around for hours until you meet the "enemy" and then argue about who "shot" who first.
I loved the woods. I loved building forts, digging foxholes and taking cover from the enemy (a.k.a. the kid from another neighborhood). What I didn't think about at the time was that our little game was inspired by true heroes who faced real enemies carrying real weapons in the name of freedom and honor.
Children don't take much time to consider history. After all, they still have their whole futures ahead of them. But, Veteran's Day reminds us that we should all take time to consider the sacrifices that were made to protect America and our way of life.
The men and women who have put their country before themselves have made our lives easier and more secure. They have made it possible for us to enjoy our freedoms while teaching us the price that was paid to keep them.
From our nation's earliest wars to the current war on terrorism, members of each generation have made sacrifices.
As we march further into the new century, it becomes more obvious that our eldest generation, the one that perhaps gave the most, gets smaller and smaller. In their youth, these men fought the Germans and Japanese. Now, they fight to tell their stories to a new generation that is far removed from the world of the 1940s.
Over the years, I have covered a number of Veteran's Day and Memorial Day activities. The number of non-wrinkled faces in the crowd can usually be counted on one hand. Even people in their 20s, 30s and 40s seem to have something better to do than honor U.S. veterans.
Our children may learn about World War II in classrooms, but nothing can come close to hearing about war from the men who fought. Once they understand the sacrifices, they will understand why it is important to thank all of our veterans.
Just because Veteran's Day has passed, it does not mean that our opportunity to learn more about our veterans is gone. Whether it is a grandfather, neighbor, friend or co-worker, all of us know a veteran. We can always take a moment to express our appreciation. It doesn't have to be a big production … just a simple thanks.
Another way to honor our veterans on a regular basis is to tell our children about the importance of what happened and how our nation stands on the shoulders of these heroes.

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