Veterans Day Not A Time To Glorify War

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It's hard to write a treatise on Veterans Day without wandering into cliché.

Every year, we ask you to remember those who fought and to take a moment to appreciate the sacrifice they made.

We've said it so many times, for so many years, that we're afraid you may no longer hear us.

But this year, more than ever -- as the country is divided about the merits of Iraq, as elections are being won and lost over statements about our troops -- we would like people to take a moment to think about the true meaning of Veterans Day.

On this day, we should not glorify war. We should be reminded that war is horrible. That knowledge should send shivers up our spines and make us unendingly grateful to those people who experienced war -- by choice or otherwise.

Those who glorify war are probably not survivors of Pearl Harbor. They are probably not Vietnam veterans who saw their friends and enemies die next to them. They are probably not a Holocaust survivor.

Any veteran who saw "it," usually has a difficult time speaking of what they saw. They do not brag. They do not wish the same experience on anyone.

Anyone who has spent time with a veteran who still struggles with the memories of war, knows the depth of the gratitude we should all feel for the sacrifice they made.

We are thankful for their service. We are proud of our vets. We are proud of the freedom they earned for us as Americans.

But on this Veterans Day, we do not want to share with our children a message of violence. We do not want to paint a romantic picture of the battlefield.

War may be necessary, but war is also ugly.

This Veterans Day, we would like the symbol of our thanks -- not to be a man with a gun -- but a raised American flag.

Veterans Day is not a time to fight about the politics of Iraq. On the battlefield, politics fade away and the only thoughts are of survival.

On this day, put aside the conversation about Iraq. Instead, take a moment to thank a veteran for what they went through, for what they saw. And remember that it wasn't just the veterans who made sacrifices. Take a moment to thank their families -- their spouses, parents and children.

We owe all these people for being willing to go to war or for going because they were asked by their country during a draft.

Veterans have sacrificed and they will continue to sacrifice. Because war may never end, we should be thankful of the men and women willing to face it.

We would like to invite veterans to tell us your stories or share your thoughts. We will publish a few and post them all on payson.com.

Please e-mail your stories to editor@payson.com, fax them to (928) 474-1893 or bring them by the Payson Roundup office in the Swiss Village at 708 N. Beeline Highway.

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