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Lefthand Corner: Veterans deserve recognition for their service to America

Monday is Memorial Day. We tend to say it's that time of the year again; but, it is, and it should be a lot more than that. Sure, this is the week or weekend that we buy the poppies from the Legion Auxiliary sellers. Many will watch and applaud v...

Monday is Memorial Day.

We tend to say it's that time of the year again; but, it is, and it should be a lot more than that.

Sure, this is the week or weekend that we buy the poppies from the Legion Auxiliary sellers. Many will watch and applaud veterans marching in parades and may accompany those veterans who lay wreaths or toss them on the waters at the Cross Lake dam or Sibley Lake. More may attend ceremonies and programs at area venues. There will be meaningful marching and saluting and firing and the haunting playing of taps.

Other than wearing the little red poppies for that day, and perhaps a few more, that will be about it for most folks. Too many will only note Memorial Day in passing, as they enjoy the extended weekend for traveling, partying, fishing and golfing.

Our veterans deserve a lot more recognition and appreciation - in fact, reverence. Having the two days spaced a half year apart, with Veterans Day in November (which used to be Armistice Day) and the less celebrated VE Day in the spring and VJ Day in the summer, really doesn't do justice either. It should be our repeated acknowledgment and thanks the other 360-plus days as well.

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Our veterans' service for America has given us the gift of freedom we have in America today. It has been that way from the beginning of the colonized days before this land became the United States of America.

Surprisingly, even veterans of origins we have discriminated against have been involved in gaining and protecting our freedom. Native Americans greatly assisted our colonial armies in gaining our first ancestors' freedom and performed crucial functions in World War II, where we were also assisted by patriotic Japanese Americans.

Slave Americans were of great assistance and participation from the outset of our own Civil War and have been a disproportionate part of our military defense in the World Wars and part and parcel of our military ever since.

Ever since our colonial days, we have had the luxury level of freedom beyond that of most any nation on Earth. Since getting and growing out of English, Spanish and French attempts at colonization, we have been blessed with the greatest level of freedom of most any nation on Earth.

That freedom has also been greatly enhanced by the vast natural resources that allowed independence from need to rely on other nations, and from great luxury of space for our growing population.

We would have none of that freedom we have if it were not for the collective efforts of our veterans. The valiant efforts of our vets in World War II alone saved us from total loss of freedom. The enemy forces were gaining control, and if still alive at all, we all would be subject to and subservient to whatever would be left of the winning triumvirate of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo.

Unlike some of our present pandering politicians, I don't view every veteran as a hero and a patriot. They are still human like the rest of us, but as with any large group there have been some who were not as altruistic as others.

Historically, we have not treated some of our veterans very well. Veterans of darker skin come home to further discrimination. Veterans from our Revolutionary and Civil wars went home unpaid. Our present veterans with physical and mental injury still have to travel too far and wait too long for sometimes inadequate treatment.

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Appreciate our veterans today. But remember that it's not just a holiday. Let's continue to express that hugely deserved thank you for our freedom and appreciation for their service every remaining day of the year.

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