In the corner of a room in my mother’s home is a dusty pair of cavalry boots that belonged to my great-grandfather. He wore them as he rode in defense of our nation against the threat of tyranny. I’ve often stared at those boots and wondered how many times he slid them on not knowing if it would be for the last time.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era that was essentially between wars, leaving a generation of kids whose only knowledge of battle came from history books, classic films and the occasional tale momentarily pried from tight-lipped fathers and grandparents.
It wasn’t until my late 30s, when our nation’s focus shifted from places like Vietnam and Korea to the shifting sands of the Middle East, that terms like “Operation: Desert Shield” and “SCUD missiles” entered our vernacular — and we witnessed live coverage of war on our television sets for the first time in our lives.
And we have essentially been at war ever since.
Though as Americans we have the right to disagree on what justifies going to war, who may benefit from it or what the moral consequences may be, we cannot ever overlook the sacrifice made by those who answer the call regardless of how we may feel about war itself.
We are indebted to everyone who has been, who is now and whoever will be, willing to sacrifice themselves in service to our nation.
Our debt to their duty exists well beyond the realm of politics, partisanship, personal agendas or approval numbers.
It’s about the fact that, thanks to our veterans, we occasionally provide a generation with the chance to grow up without knowing war.
Write Siuslaw News editor Ned Hickson at [email protected] or P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439.