A fitting day

Published 9:35 am Tuesday, November 11, 2008

By Staff
Today, Veterans Day, is a fitting day to add a new memorial to Veterans Park in Washington.
In the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, a cessation of hostilities between the Allies and Germany occurred, in effect ending World War I. Sadly to say, there have been more wars in the 90 years since. Today, American men and women are involved in the war against terror.
The fallen-soldier monument being unveiled today pays tribute to all of Washington and Beaufort County’s war dead, including those killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq such as Kevin Jones, Johnathan Kirk, Joel Taylor and Michael Murdock. Jones was a Washington resident and Army soldier killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq in September 2005. Kirk, a Marine from Pamlico Beach, died in May 2007 from wounds received when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq. Taylor was killed by a roadside bomb in June of this year. Murdock was killed Sept. 11 of this year during an attack on his combat outpost in Afghanistan.
That memorial also is for honoring the memory of Air Force Capt. Patrick Brian Olson, a Washington High School and Air Force Academy graduate who died Feb. 27, 1991, when his plane crashed during the Persian Gulf War.
The memorial can never repay these and other men and women for the sacrifices they made while doing their parts to help keep as much of the world as free as possible.
Today, Americans, because of those sacrifices, are able to exercise their right to free assembly. What better way to exercise that right than to honor our nation’s veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice so their fellow countrymen remained free and able to exercise their right to go to the polls to choose their leaders, which took place a week ago.
Since the birth of this nation, veterans have died at gunpoint so their spouses, children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and others could elect leaders without being forced to do so at the point of a gun. Other veterans suffered life-changing injuries, many of them leaving parts of themselves on foreign battlefields, so family, friends and strangers back home could leave parts of themselves — their votes — in ballot boxes.
We should remember those sacrifices when we vote.
The fallen-solider monument, also known as a battlefield cross, should remind us that those rights and others continue to be paid for in blood.
The community help support the effort to bring the memorial to Veterans Park. Today, the community should be at Veterans Park to dedicate the monument to the memory of all of those who gave some and some of those who gave all.
Veterans Day is much more than just a holiday. It’s more than just another red-letter day on the calendar. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Web site describes Veterans Day this way: “A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
While American military personnel are on patrol in far away streets, flying cover missions for ground troops, submerged under international waters and making security patrols in domestic harbors today, Americans should be making their ways to Veterans Day celebrations in their communities.
There is no doubt they deserve to be honored by us. They have already honored themselves and this nation.