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Thank a veteran

Thank a veteran

Gale A. Richards

Retired Pastor

Often the people and places of history take on larger-than-life dimensions.

The mere mention of George Washington and Valley Forge, or the Old North Church along with Paul Revere and his late night ride bring to mind giants of American history. Yet, with few exceptions, under examination, these people are shown to be common, everyday folk who stepped forward for a time to perform some heroic task that needed doing.

Afterwards, if they survived, they went back to their everyday lives, not as heroes, just someone who did what had to be done. They were common people who laid down the tools of daily life and took up weapons to stand in the face of overwhelming odds in order to assure the rights and freedoms of friends, neighbors, and descendants. It was a time in their lives when they sacrificed personal goals and motivations in order to stand up for the needs and rights of others.

Sometimes the sacrifice included their lives. They knew those dangers ahead of time, but they took a stand against oppression and injustice anyway. They might be called common folk who, for a time, acted like heroes. Thanks to them, freedom, justice, personal dignity, and our rights were assured in their lifetimes and in lifetimes to come.

Things haven’t changed much in two centuries. Bullies and dictators still abound and still attempt to force other people into servitude. Oppression and tyranny still exist, and we must never let our guard down lest it become strong enough to overcome us.

On the front line of that protective guard, just as they were two hundred years ago, are citizen soldiers. Common men and women, who for a time, lay down their tools and take up weapons in order to stand between tyrants and free people. They sacrifice goals, ambitions, and sometimes their lives. But thanks to them, our country, America, still has personal rights and justice and is still the shining light on the hill that oppressed people everywhere look to for inspiration. Thanks to a long line of citizen soldiers who have never stopped serving.

Most of these citizens go back to being common people after their time of service. Most of them feel as if they didn’t do anything great, but thanks to them we still have our rights and freedoms in this country. I urge you, when you encounter one of these common folks who is a veteran, thank them for the time they gave assuring the dignity of our lifestyle.

Of all the rights they fought to protect, the first one guaranteed in the Constitution is Freedom of Religion. All of the others follow after that. In other words, when you have God, you have it all, without God there is nothing.

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