November 11th is Veterans Day -- a time when Americans honor those who have served in the U.S. armed forces in peace and war.
In recent years, the United States and its allies have fought to help oppressed people in Kosovo, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. And in each of these cases, American military action has helped people of all religious faiths.
Some twenty-one-thousand U.S. troops are serving with the troops of NATO and other allies to help establish security in Afghanistan. More than one-hundred-thirty-eight-thousand Americans are serving with the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. Their mission is to help Iraqis establish the security and stability necessary to support a transition to democracy and the rule of law.
Those who serve in the armed forces come from all sectors of American society. U.S. Army reservist Jared Zabaldo volunteered for a nine-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. He is heading back to Iraq in 2007 to serve with the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq. “I do feel compelled to go back, because it’s important to ensure Iraq has the ability to protect its freedom from whoever would seek to destroy it,” says Sergeant Zabaldo.
U.S. Army Captain Craig Lanigan says his proudest achievement in Afghanistan is seeing Afghan children attend school for the first time. His unit is building schools, wells, and bridges in Nuristan. “We try to reach out to good people and show that we are not conquerors,” he says.
President George W. Bush says “the free world must draw the full measure of our strength and resources” to defeat the threat of violent extremism:
“We see that full measure and the strength of this nation in the men and women in uniform who fight this war, and who have given their lives in the cause of liberty and freedom.”
Such are the men and women Americans honor this Veterans Day.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting American ideals and institutions.