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Veteran's Day as Bittersweet

From the movie, "The Thin Red Line"...and possibly the book but I haven't read it: "This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doing this? Who's killing us? Robbing us of light and life. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've done? Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed to this night?"

Veteran's Day is bittersweet for me. Bitter because of the horrible loss of life everywhere. Bitter because we often accept war as inevitable. Bitter because some people who had rather not fight, kill, and die seem to have no other recourse.

And yet, in my work to do my book, I spoke with servicemen and servicewomen, veterans, and families of those who died and have come away with a deep and everlasting appreciation for the dedication shown by them. Almost to a one, they would have not undone that which was done, even if having to relive the carnage, the horror, the remorse, the sadness of their experience.

If you see a military person, stop and take a moment to honor them. Tell them "Thank you." If you know of someone who was in service in times past, look them in the eyes and say, "I appreciate your service." Even if you do not support any particular struggle or conflict, I would ask that you consider supporting the people who were engaged in such an unpleasant and unfortunate endeavor.

Mike Sledge

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