We are caught today between Veterans Day, which was Wednesday, and Thanksgiving, which is in two weeks. Are they related? Could they be? Should they be?
It is kind of easy to nod your head and say, “Yes, we should be thankful for all our service men and women, past, present and future,” and then go on without much more thought about the men and women who put their lives on the line.
But take just a minute today to just think abut what those men and women had to go through in a long list of foreign battles to keep our nation and and nations on several other continents free and able to govern their own futures.
This isn’t a complete list by any means, but let’s start at World War I, when the United States military was called to Europe. Not a bad place to take a journey nowadays. Not a real picnic in the early 1900s.
Americans on foreign land, not speaking the local languages, fighting in some of the coldest terrain imaginable, mostly on the ground without any modern conveniences.
World War I is long over and the veterans of that war have since left this earth. Yet Americans fighting a foreign enemy on foreign soil prevailed, which kept most of Europe intact and gave the world a glimpse of the power of Americans united.
World War II was not much better. The planes and tanks were improved, but from the steaming hot deserts of North Africa to hot, humid and swampy battle grounds and seas in Asia to the frigid cold of the icy peaks in the Alps to the frozen tundra of Russia, conditions were intolerable, supplies were sometimes short or nonexistent, death and injury were rampant, once again in the name of democracy—not just for Europe and the South Pacific, but for freedom that extended back to these United States as well.
We can never forget the thousands of deaths and injuries in Normandy, the ungodly weather conditions as Colorado’s own 10th Mountain Division entered the war via the mountains of Italy, the deaths and torture present in the China-Burma-India campaign and, of course, the island-dodging, air-borne and submarine-led battles in the Pacific and, ultimately, the atomic bomb attack on Japan.
Next came Korea. Not the bloodiest of all battles, but perhaps one of the most important. It was also fought in the frigid northlands and hot, sweaty summers, but it did succeed in keeping that area of the world mostly stable.
With the Chinese just over the border from North Korea, this war, if it had gotten out of control, could easily have led to World War III. Too many people died on both sides of this conflict, but, due to American troops, there is now at least a living peace there. It is a fragile people brought on by unstable leaders in North Korea, but the American presence in that country in the early 1950s just might be playing a quiet but still major role in the continued “peace” enjoyed in that region—hopefully now and for decades to come.
Then came Vietnam. Many of us remember friends, classmates and family members who were lost during the war in Southeast Asia.
Thousands died, more were injured and many of these men and women who served in Vietnam came back to this country as unpopular figures who had lived in hell while serving this country in a foreign land. Vietnam is where some of the most diabolical methods of warfare, from land mines, underground tactics, poison gases and napalm sent too many troops home in body bags or with often-invisible but live-changing and life-lasting damages.
Put yourself in place of those troops who lost one or two or all four limbs. Those who had major injuries throughout their bodies and those who came back to this country neither mentally nor physically able to carry on a normal life.
Not forgetting battles like Grenada or Panama, we move on to the useless killings and injuries in the Middle East.
Be it Iraq or Iran or even Afghanistan and Pakistan, our American troops continue to fight with their lives to make this planet a better place in which to live.
There have been abominable conditions from the hot deserts in the Middle East to the ghastly cold mountain ranges of Europe and Asia. There have been the unwelcoming, hostile peoples in malaria-rich Southeast Asia. And there are the current deadly suicide and life-ending attacks on troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
These aren’t normal conditions for American troops.
Put yourself in the minds of these veterans for just a few minutes, then imagine it being about 100 times worse than you can imagine. It truly is not tough to imagine why we should honor our veterans, and hopefully did so on Wednesday.
And it shouldn’t be too tough to think of many things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.
Yes, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are related and, yes, they should be.
Thanks again, veterans, for your service. We are thankful to you for so much!!!
Well, Bronco fans, it had to happen. It’s too bad it happened the way it did on Sunday as Mr. Manning once again took the troops to Indianapolis, where the Broncos just haven’t had a lot of luck against the Colts.
It all started there three years ago, when Manning returned to his former Colts’ turf for the first time since he left the team.
Indianapolis made such a hero’s return for Peyton that it seemed he was too grateful to the Colts for the warm reception that he didn’t want to hurt their feelings. They, in turn, stomped the Broncos all in the name of extremely cold weather, which was the reason given for Manning losing.
The last time the Broncos played in Indianapolis, the story was the same. A big deal was made of Manning’s return and once again he played like he didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the Colts.
Sunday’s first half was just the same. Nothing went right. The Broncos couldn’t run, Manning couldn’t pass and the receivers couldn’t catch the ball and were as flat as I have ever seen them. Thank God for the kick return in the last minute of the first half, but Denver still trailed 17-7.
Perhaps Gary Kubiak said something profound at the half. Perhaps Mr. Manning decided he had been kind enough to the Colts over the past couple of years. But it appeared as though Manning, the runners and the receivers finally showed up in Indianapolis and the second half was exciting, fun and a bit more relaxing to watch.
Yes, Denver did get beat. A touch of reality once in a while can bring a team back to earth, and let’s hope such is the case.
Maybe now Denver knows it isn’t invincible and that it needs to get serious in the second half of the season.
And let’s hope that if the Broncos have to face Indianapolis against this season in the playoffs (the Colts knocked the Broncos out of the playoffs last year) the team will use both halves to hand the Colts a well-deserved loss for the first time in a few years.
Let’s go Broncos. Let’s show the Chiefs why the Broncos have a three-game lead in the AFC West and why the loss to the Colts was nothing more than a temporary setback.