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Veterans deserve respect

Remnants still exist of the national guilt that evolved in the years following America’s failed experience in Southeast Asia — guilt stemming from the less-than-respectful treatment some veterans of the conflict received upon returning home.

This country’s troops who fought in the Southeast Asia jungles also were disrespected by many Americans during the time those troops were engaged in trying to carry out the policies and orders of their leaders back home — leaders who during the conflict, never would admit the futility of what they were trying to accomplish.

Americans too young to have witnessed the disgraceful attitudes directed at this nation’s fighting personnel of that era need to be reminded that the sentence, “Thank you for your service” was virtually non-existent then.

What actually was being said at that time need not be repeated on this Veterans Day — the day set aside to remember all of this country’s military personnel who served honorably, those living and dead. However, it nevertheless should be acknowledged that a time existed when military personnel were looked down upon and that disrespect did not exclude veterans.

Unfortunately, even during this time of thanking veterans for their service, there have been scattered incidents of despicable disrespect thrust at this country’s military personnel — disrespect that no loyal American should condone.

Every American today who is contemplating the meaning of Veterans Day needs to remind himself or herself that every honorably discharged veteran, whether a combat veteran or not, deserves appreciation for having served well. Every military person, no matter what his or her responsibility was, played an important role in the military services’ overall missions — and, most importantly, in protecting this nation and its people.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Veterans Day activities will be scaled back in some places. That is unfortunate, but necessary.

Hopefully, next year’s observance will not require similar decisions, although the importance of the holiday will not be diminished by whatever unwanted choices might be necessary.

The fact that America and the rest of this planet have never had the opportunity to experience a truly peaceful world makes having strong military services an absolute necessity. Meanwhile, it cannot be stressed too often that many of this country’s most dedicated and talented men and women are the personnel serving in the military.

They are not veterans yet, but they will be someday.

When that time comes, they will deserve all of the honors that this nation can bestow.

If it is possible for you to attend a military parade today along with family members, do so. However, do follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask.

Meanwhile, it deserves repeating that parents should try to instill in their children an understanding of the important meaning of the holiday — how the holiday fits with the lives they are able to live at this time, despite the challenges that exist.

Veterans Day must retain its important place because of the national foundation that it represents.

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