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The Pledge of Allegiance to America

Fri, Jan 26th, 2001
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Monday, January 29, 2001

Today there is, and perhaps there always will be, conflict in the world. The United States, however, fortunately enjoys peace and freedom.

Like other things of great value, this security did not come cheaply. Americans who answered the call to military duty when their country needed them have already paid part of the cost. They have served in eleven wars from the Revolution to the Persian Gulf, earning the special title of "veteran." But another part of freedoms cost must continue to be paid long after the guns have been put to rest. This debt is owed to Americas veterans. That is why I feel it is very important to thank our veterans for the great deeds they have performed.

Some veterans need their countrys help, even as their country once needed theirs, to heal both physical and emotional wounds. Most need and ask nothing in repayment of their sacrifices. Let us continue to help those veterans in need with the greatest possible compassion. To the rest, who ask no special help, we can best pay tribute during Veterans Day by recognizing what they have achieved and joining in their mission to keep America strong and free.

I have witnessed firsthand that many of the people in our society do not justly thank our war veterans. Many people within our community do not know how to thank our war veterans or even where to find them in order to thank them. Many of you may ask, "What is a veteran and how can I recognize one?"

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service such as a missing limb, a jagged scar, or a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them, a pin holding a bone together or a piece of shrapnel in the leg. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe rarely wear a badge or emblem.

You cant tell veterans just by looking at them. Veterans can be any number of different people. He is the cop who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didnt run out of fuel. He is the prisoner of war who went away one person and came back another, or didnt come back at all. He is the Legion member riding in parades who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is one of the anonymous heroes in The Tomb of the Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever hold the memory of those unknowns who lost their lives in combat. He is an ordinary member of society, but yet an extraordinary human being who has offered some of his most precious years in the service of his country and has sacrificed his dreams so others would not have to sacrifice theirs. He is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. He is nothing less than the finest testimony on behalf of the greatest nation on earth.

Many of our United States veterans are aging and will soon be gone. Many will recite the thirty-one words of the Pledge of Allegiance, which declare the values and freedom that the American flag represents, for the last time.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say, "Thank You." Thats all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals or awards. These two little words mean a lot in the hearts of these men and women. Even though this November 11th Veterans Day has passed, it is not too late to recognize these citizens. They are the reason we are here today and live the way we do.

Amy Hazel

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