Bendinelli: At least Google realized

 

 

Ryan Bendinelli

“Saving Private Ryan” was on TV. The “O”s in Google had army helmets on them. A group of concerned students had a table at the Oreo. That is how people were reminded of Veteran’s Day.

In case you were wondering, it was on Sunday. There was no turkey dinner. There were no major fireworks. No one exchanged boxes wrapped in colorful paper. There wasn’t even an extra prayer at church. It seems odd that a holiday whose meaning is so significant receives so little attention in our minds.

Americans are always told that the freedoms they enjoy are a direct result of the sacrifices made by the military and their families. However, this falls on deaf ears. War and fighting are foreign to everyone who is not directly affected. This fact in itself ought to be something we all are thankful for.

Currently, 32 states have restricted protests at military funerals. This is a result of extreme groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church who say that the war in Iraq is a result of America’s weakening moral fiber. Some people argue that restrictions are a violation of free speech and thus insult the sacrifice of those soldiers. Frankly, the fact that some would abuse their freedoms in such a heinous act of disrespect seems to be the bigger issue.

Consider for a moment the prospect of the United States without its military. For that matter, consider the world around us without the U.S. military. The very beginning of this nation was marked by a group of men who realized their own desire for self government and were willing to fight and die for that principle. Thus, every time we spend a day without paying homage to a king or queen, we ought to be thankful to our veterans.

When that nation failed to live up to the very principles of freedom that it was founded on, more men laid down their lives for the promise of an even stronger Union in the future. Once again, we ought to thank veterans for a much better nation.

As evil marched through Europe in World War II, over 400,000 American soldiers died trying to stop the atrocities. Today, those places we defended are some of our strongest allies.

When certain states refused to follow through on granting all citizens equal rights, it was again the military standing guard that ensured the Little Rock Nine could walk into school.

Today, the men and women in uniform have loyally gone halfway around the world with the hope of preventing terrorist attacks. Whatever a person may say about the United States’ strategy in the war on terror, those fighting it deserve our utmost respect. Unfortunately, that is not the case with some people. People like the members of the Westboro Baptist Church would rather use their sacrifice as a way of advancing a political agenda.

In two weeks, all of us will sit down and consider everything we have to be thankful for. Whatever it is that we are thankful for – our families, friends, or perhaps our freedoms that we embrace – we ought to consider the sacrifices that are made to achieve those things. It should be noted that Veteran’s Day arrives before Thanksgiving. Without the former, we would have far fewer things to celebrate on the latter.

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Ryan Bendinelli is a senior political science major from Millington, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected]