Our View: If you do one thing, thank a veteran

November 10, 2006 11:00 pm

Perhaps earlier this week you voted for city council, school board, governor or Congress, an act denied to more than a billion people on this world. If you voted, thank a veteran today.

Possibly you enjoyed a good breakfast, made in a home you own – unlike many who in a few other countries live in state-owned apartments because private property is outlawed and who find leaders rationing their food. If you did enjoy such a breakfast prepare din your own kitchen, thank a veteran today.

Maybe later today you'll read a book or discuss with a friend the latest political or social issue, each offering your own criticism of various leaders, saying what many people in a good number of other countries only can in hushed whispers for fear of being arrested or killed. If you do have such a conversation, thank a veteran today.

Perhaps later today or tomorrow morning you'll attend the church or temple of your choice for worship services. For well over 2 billion people in the world today, the state has determined which belief they'll possess. If you got to chose – even if it was a decision to not attend a service – then thank a veteran today.

Possibly later today you'll drive somewhere, say across the county line to Eureka or the state border into Brookings. In some countries, to travel you must have pre-approved papers. If you don't have to show your papers at the Humboldt and Curry county lines, thank a veteran today.

Maybe this afternoon you'll stand in a group of more than three people talking, maybe about elk hunting, the Raiders' game or the latest family trial and tribulation. In a few countries, gathering in a group of more than a couple of people is eyed with suspicion. If you enjoy your right to peaceably assemble, then thank a veteran today.

We can disagree with our leaders about which war to fight and the best way to fight it. That's our right. But if there's something we shouldn't bad mouth, it's the honest soldier, sailor or airman who has willingly put his or her life on the line, regardless of politics, to ensure we have those rights. Servicemen and women don't make policy, but they have given their blood to ensure we can choose our leaders who will make them.

There's no easy way to ever repay those who've made such sacrifices. But if you appreciate it, the thank a veteran today.