This past week we witnessed something that is quite remarkable. Something that is unique to just a few nations and something that our United States of America has done longer and better than any other nation in the history of the world. This past election we had a dramatic shift or change in the powers and philosophy of the executive branch of our nation and we did it peacefully.
Sure, there was a lot of unpleasant rancor in the campaigns, words were heated and it was not a political season that made us particularly proud of either party. However, as the results of the election rolled in and the pundits and experts were surprised and some were shocked, things remained peaceful.
In other nations, in other parts of the world a change in power that dramatic would entail tanks in the street, violence and ultimately bloodshed. To my knowledge we had none of that. There was no call to arms, there were no riots, and ultimately, no National Guard tanks rolling down city streets. A peaceful transition of power is a rare thing in our world and in history. The United States has gotten so good at it that we do not blink an eye or give it a second thought.
Election Day was so momentous and so big that it overshadowed another holiday this past week. You could make the argument that Election Day distracted us from a holiday that should be celebrated as the reason for a peaceful day. That holiday would be Veteran’s Day. The day that we should celebrate all the brave men and women who have served our nation and protected our rights, including the right to vote.
Too often we see Veteran’s Day as just another mark on the calendar and, for many of us, just another day off. Veteran’s Day is much more than that and the peace that followed the election Tuesday is a very vivid reminder of how much Veteran’s Day should mean. We enjoy unprecedented freedoms and privileges in the United States and we owe all of it to our Veterans.
We can never repay the sacrifice of the brave citizens who stepped forward and faced enemies on foreign lands to keep us safe on our soil. They willingly gave up their comfort and security to ensure ours. Many gave the ultimate price so that we could walk in and cast our vote, knowing that we could do so in peace. Others still suffer from injuries both seen and unseen that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. Everyone who fought to protect us sacrificed a piece of themselves for each of us and our freedoms.
Those who served in times of peace should also not be forgotten. Who is to say that without a strong military we would not have faced other threats during that time. Their service should not be forgotten or minimized in any way. They also gave of their time and talents for each of us, helping to insure the security of our nation and the safety of each of us.
I fear we have become too comfortable with our safety and with our freedoms and we have forgotten the price paid for them. That is why Veteran’s Day is so important and why we should not view it as just another holiday that some of us don’t have to go to work on. We should take the time to seek out the Veterans around us and thank them for their service and sacrifice
This year more than any other is a reason to celebrate our freedoms and the strength of our great nation. We have just witnessed a rather dramatic change in our President and yet each of us woke up this morning with the certainty that we would be able to go to our jobs, go about our business and return home in peace, all because of the service and the protection of everyone who served in any branch of the military. For that we should be eternally grateful.
I know we will still see some conflict between parties in the upcoming weeks and we will experience some heartburn because of the elections. The United States will be in the world spotlight and I hope we will seize this opportunity to show the rest of the world how a peaceful transition of power should go. We should also be keenly aware of the fact that this will happen because of the solid foundation of democracy our nation is built upon.
This is a foundation that has been built and maintained by every brave soul who has every served in our military, from those in the Revolutionary War to those currently serving us in our war on terror. If it were not for their bravery and service none of this would be possible. We celebrate Election Day because of Veteran’s Day.