My family's roots go deep into this country. My mother's family has been here since before the Revolutionary War, my father's since about 1900 or so. Both families have offered their sons, brothers, fathers in the service of this country. We have had at least one family member in uniform during almost every war in U.S. History.
My mother's family joined the patriots and fought in our struggle for independence from England in the 1700s. Generations later, this same family had sons fighting in the Civil War -- on both sides actually. Cousins unknowingly fought against each other, each fighting for their own way of life. Still, generations later, both sides of my family had men in uniform during World War I, II, Korea and even Vietnam. Some rose to high levels in the U.S. military, recognized as leaders and heroes in service to their country.
So today, I salute all of them. No matter how politically unpopular a war may get, I am always reminded that we are forever in debt to those who step up and fight for freedom. It doesn't matter whether you agree with the reason they go -- fact is, they go, and they do their duty for all of us honorably.
It is truly the soldier and not the poet who has given us freedom of speech. It is because of those who kept watch during the darkness that the rest of us can peacefully sleep. We should never, ever forget that.
Thanks to my own family members and all other veterans who have served so honorably. Your sacrifices have not been forgotten.