We will honor our nation’s military veterans with a holiday on Tuesday, for all the blood and anguish and separation they’ve endured in the name of freedom.
Veterans Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs tells us (www.appc1.va.gov/vetsday) is set aside to thank and honor those who served honorably in the military.
“Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served — not only those who died — have sacrificed and done their duty,” the Web site reports.
In Clovis, Vickie Gant has a special appreciation for veterans. Her dad, James Jensen, served 22 years in the Air Force. Now 71, he retired as a chief master sergeant and lives in Katy, Texas.
But Gant, a bookkeeper for a Clovis car dealer, had concerns and questions when the United States went to war with Iraq last spring. She sought understanding from her father.
He replied with a series of e-mails, acknowledging “wars are a dilemma,” but sharing deep-rooted beliefs about protecting others and providing freedoms.
“My Grandpa Willey and I were great buddies,” Jensen wrote. “Grandpa told me about Hitler. … A few weeks before my seventh birthday, Germany invaded Poland. … It was at this time in my life that I wanted to be a soldier — not to go kill a bunch of bad guys, but because I deeply felt it was the right thing to do.
“Grandpa and I would pore over maps, listen to the news … and discuss the progress of World War II.”
Jensen told his daughter about several family members who were veterans.
“All of these relatives were volunteers … no draftees,” he wrote. “They did it because it was the right thing to do.”
Jensen said his own military career often came before family.
“Can I ever make up for that?” he asked his daughter.
“The retirement and the surviving medical benefits are great, but my family and I paid a price. We were extremely fortunate that the price wasn’t higher.
“Why did I do it? Because it was the right thing to do. I’ve seen, firsthand, the fruits of individuals and nations which lust after unrighteous dominion over other people.”
Jensen said he is thankful for the freedoms of America.
“Are we wrong to spend our blood in providing the same gift to others?” he asked his daughter as the nation went to war. “Each of us has to decide on the answer to that question.
“My personal opinion is … the only thing that could possibly be worse — is doing nothing at all.”
Veterans Day is Tuesday. It, like any day, is a good day to thank a freedom fighter.