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 U.S. 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, including Muslims. Secretary of State Colin Powell says, "Afghanistan is a perfect example, where we had a most successful presidential election a couple of weeks ago, when a couple of years ago the place was totally under the Taleban and with al-Qaida running the place." President George W. Bush says Afghanistan's recent election demonstrates that the values for which America and its allies fight are universal:
"There is [an] attitude among some that certain people may never be free, they just don't long to be free or [are] incapable of running an election. And I disagree with that, and the Afghan people by going to the polls in the millions proved that this administration's faith in freedom to change people's habits is worthy."
Some fifteen-thousand U.S. troops are serving with their coalition allies to establish security in Afghanistan. More than one-hundred-thirty-thousand Americans are serving 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. American Muslims are among the more than one-thousand Americans who have given their lives in Iraq. U.S Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in June trying to prevent a suicide bomb attack in Baquba, Iraq. "Instead of running, he stood forward to [in front of] the oncoming taxi to prevent it from going inside [the American compound]," said his brother Shahrayar Khan. "Even being in Iraq, surrounded by mortal peril, I knew he would do the right thing, that he was there to protect and save lives," said Mr. Khan.
Veterans Day is a day on which Americans honor all those, like Captain Humayun Khan, who have made the ultimate sacrifice so their countrymen and others may live in freedom.