I’m From Kansas: Honoring veterans for their service throughout their lives

For people of a certain age, watching a TV show featuring numbers randomly pulled from a spinning cage wasn’t about hitting the PowerBall, it was about the anxiety that your birthday would correspond with a number that would send you to fight in a jungle half a world away. I’m just young enough not to personally worry about being called up. But I remember watching and knowing people whose number was called.

That memory makes me think of two friends of mine, both of whom served in Vietnam. Volunteered. One for two tours. Both came home and embarked on a life of public service, one in education and another in law enforcement. Both rose to leadership roles in their communities. Both gave back by serving kids. When I think of these two men, I see loyalty, courage, and service manifested.

War, our system of war-fighting, and our system of recruiting soldiers have all changed over the years. The bravery that is required to serve by fighting in a foreign war has not. We know more now about the sacrifice made by soldiers, during and after their service to our country. We have to do more to support our veterans as a country. Twenty vets take their own lives every day. Politicians love to talk about supporting our troops, but look away when homelessness and suicide numbers are discussed.

Back to my two friends, who both have my undying respect. One is a staunch conservative and the other a fire-breathing liberal. Both have lived lives of service to others and believe strongly in the future of our country. They don’t know each other, but I imagine if they met and talked, it would be about the greatness of our country and not about what appear as gaping differences. We could all take a lesson.

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