It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
Today I am so proud to be an American and to live in a country that offers so many freedoms. Freedom of speech, of press, of religion, freedom to be whoever and whatever we want to be. I love this country. I can’t listen to our National Anthem without crying, whether it’s being sung by a celebrity at a football game or an auditorium full of elementary students at a Veteran’s Day Assembly. I love our United States of America.
This summer I visited my cousins in DC and we spent a few days doing all the touristy things. We went to a National’s baseball game, we ate at the local dives that are famous for their crab legs, and we of course spent a day touring downtown DC and Arlington. I have to say that being at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was the most incredible experience I’ve had in a long time. I stood there, unable to choke back tears, as I watched the changing of the guard and as I stood there crying, I thought of all the men and women who never came home from war, of all the families that have lost a loved one who were fighting to defend the freedoms that we enjoy every single day and so often take for granted. I stood there, with tears flowing down my cheeks, completely overwhelmed at the thought of how blessed I am to have had two grandfathers that were part of the brave men who were called soldiers and how lucky I am that my best friend, Barry Albious, has always made it home from his deployments. I thought of the sacrifice my uncle Raymond made while in Vietnam. He lost both of his legs while fighting for our country but I’ve never in my life heard him complain about that sacrifice he made for his family and his friends. These men are different than most, these men are brave, these men are my heroes.
To remember is to honor. That’s what today is all about. It’s a day to be mindful of the ones that have gone before us, the ones that have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live freely. No one forces these great men and women to fight for our freedom, they go willingly. They serve knowing that today could be their last. They leave family and friends at home, knowing that when they leave it could be the last time they kiss them goodbye. And they do it with a heart that isn’t limited to race, gender, or age. They fight for us all. This is the land of the free because of the brave! To all the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
One of my best and dearest friends, Barry Albious. I’m so thankful he’s always made it home. My life wouldn’t be the same without him in it. Thank you for all you do for this great country. I love you.
God Bless the Soldier! ~Rach