A Melting Pot of Sacrifice

By Jeffrey Bellant November 11, 2021 120

Today is Veterans Day and I am so grateful for you who have served.

My dad served a few years in the U.S. Army in the 1st Infantry Division, but his time ended shortly before he would have got shipped off to Vietnam. I remember his old Army jacket with the iconic Big Red One patch that he is so proud of.

My brother was an Army reservist and I have a brother-in-law who served in the Marines and the National Guard.

I never served in the military myself, but I am so thankful for those who have and those who do.

Reading history reminds me about the sacrifices made for not just our freedom but what we have done for other countries. Of course, our allies across the globe also sacrificed for us, especially after 9/11.

It’s a little thing but I always try to thank folks I see in uniform or those wearing military caps showing the branches in which they served.

What else can I do?

Donating money or time to veteran groups is a good way to pay back. Remembering those on Veterans Day or Memorial Day is also important.

This past spring, I attended my city’s Memorial Day event at city hall. Seeing military vets that were, old, young, men, women and people of all different races and ethnicities, was a great reminder of who made these sacrifices.

It’s these two holidays – Veterans Day and Memorial Day – that remind us what so many have forgotten.

Our freedom relies on the sacrifices of so many people. Our military veterans served, fought, bled and died together, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.

A melting pot of sacrifice.

This sacrifice should humble those today who seek to divide us and pit one against another.

I get caught up in political arguments like lot of people, but many of those arguments are not hills worth dying on.

Freedom, however, is worth dying for, and our veterans are the ones who paid the price.

I can read every history book in the world and not know what it was like for real.

When “Saving Private Ryan” came out, I remember watching in the theater with my fingernails dug into the chair arm as the soldiers stormed Omaha Beach with bullets tearing bone and flesh. Just the sound of the gunfire, explosions and screams of agony was overwhelming.

Later, I heard a reporter ask a veteran of that battle if the scene was similar to the real-life experience. And the veteran responded with something like, “Well, if someone ran through the theater shooting at me, that would have been similar.”

I heard that and realized I have little to offer but gratitude.

As someone who didn’t serve, I have nothing profound to say.

Only, “Thank you.” 

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Last modified on Thursday, 11 November 2021 22:37