OUR OPINION: Find a way to thank our defenders of freedom

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

War is an ugly, deadly, vile thing. Nobody wants to go to war, to put themselves in a situation where they must kill or be killed. Nothing we do as a nation is more destructive than taking up arms against an enemy.

But reality is that war is a necessary evil.

That is why the men and women who do their duty and fight for our country deserve more gratitude than we can ever offer.

Most veterans do not think of themselves as heroes. They do not view what they did as heroic, because they have seen the horror of war. When asked about their service, most veterans simply see it as something that must be done, and they were willing to do it.

For years, the younger generations were free of servicemen who had seen major combat in overseas lands. Then came the Gulf War of the 1990s, and the first wave of &8220;new veterans&8221; were borne from a major conflict.

Today, our number of veterans is growing each day as the war in Iraq rages on. Like Vietnam before it, the Iraq war is entangled in a political struggle fueled by emotions of those who have lost loved ones and a nation growing increasingly uneasy by the number of American soldiers who have lost their lives.

But the soldiers who fight this war have nothing to do with the politics. They are simply doing what they volunteered to do &8212; fight for our nation, whatever the cause may be.

Iraq is a deadly place. Our soldiers find themselves fighting multiple enemies, enemies who know war as a domestic way of life. Dying for a cause as a martyr is a noble ideal to them, and they slay our soldiers virtually every day.

In 20 years, this war will be gone, our soldiers will be guiding a new generation and we will look to these brave men and women for their stories. The political conflict will be regulated to a civics lesson in high schools, colleges and political circles.

Today, however, our soldiers need our support, our prayers and our love.

This Veteran&8217;s Day, we remember those who have served our nation and who serve it today.

Thank you, our most humble heroes.