Victories come from doers, not observers
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again. Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt, “The Man in the Arena”
• Veterans are doers. They’ve made a difference — for our country and for the world. In many ways, they still do. Some may never have raised a gun in battle, flew in combat or defended a strategic hill against the enemy. Many served in wartime, while others stood ready during peacetime, however you want to define “peacetime.”
It seems times of peace are anything but, especially in the past century or so. We’re in an era of undeclared wars, and that makes those in the military services always on the line, especially when our enemies don’t always wear uniforms with rank insignia.
Today is Veterans Day, what used to be called “Armistice Day.” It marked the day in 1918 that the Allies of World War I and Germany signed the armistice agreement for the cessation of hostilities. The agreement actually expired after 36 days. The actual peace agreement was reached in 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The terms were so harsh against Germany that it led to Adolf Hitler taking power and World War II.
Even though wars did not end in 1918, the heroism of our soldiers has not been forgotten, and at 11 a. m. each Nov. 11 ( the time the armistice was signed), ceremonies are held all over the country honoring veterans.
If you get the chance, go to a ceremony in your town. These programs are held by veterans, and it does gladden their hearts when they see people coming out to recognize their sacrifices. Since Veterans Day is on Sunday, it should be easier for people to get out to a ceremony because it is not a weekday workday.
The saddest thing I see are people who may not have realized that a program was being held and then walk right by as it is being held, ignoring the veterans there. They can’t even stop for a minute or two to pay their respects. To those who do that, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
To serve in the military, you have to have some “attitude,” I would think. Many veterans entered the various services voluntarily, other were drafted, but to get the job done they knew they could do the job, even under the worst conditions. That takes having the right attitude, sometimes like the attitude of this late general.
“They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29: 1. They can’t get away from us now,” said Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller ( June 26, 1898 - Oct. 11, 1971), a commander in the U. S. Marine Corps. Puller is one of the most, if not the most, decorated members of the Marine Corps in its history. He is the only Marine to be awarded five Navy Crosses. During his career, he fought guerrillas in Haiti and Nicaragua, and participated in some of the bloodiest battles of World War II and the Korean War. Puller retired in 1955 and spent the rest of his life in Virginia.
Some Veterans Day programs have already been held, others will be today or Monday. Next time you meet a veteran, say “Thanks for your service to our country.” You may be the only person that he or she meets today that says that. Don’t miss the opportunity.
“From now until the end of the world, we and it shall be remembered. We few, we Band of Brothers. For he who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”
— William Shakespeare, 1564- 1616, “King Henry V”
The fifth- grade American History class of Melissa Cavenas at Mahanoy Area Elementary School recently completed a project by writing letters to veterans and active duty military thanking them for their service, showing that they are remembered and appreciated. Cavenas created the project seven years ago, and this year was the eighth fifth- grade class to participate. There were 140 letters and cards mailed. It’s a great project.
Over the years, the classes have received responses to those kind messages. Below are some responses received back from veterans over the years:
• “I would like to thank you for being instrumental in my grandson giving me a card for Veterans Day. I appreciate it very much. In fact, I think it’s the best card I have ever received. Thank you so much!”
• “It was indeed a pleasure to receive a note from the fifth graders at MAES. I was discharged in 1970 and have never gotten a thank you card from anyone. So thank you for saying thank you.”
•“I just want to say thank you for your card and kind words. They mean more to me than you will ever know.”
• “Thank you very much for the special card. It’s nice to know that all veterans are not forgotten.”
• “Thank you so very much for the Veterans Day card and drawing. It means so much to myself and all of my fellow soldiers to
from page C1 know people like you care and remember us!”
• “Once again you and your students made my day! I thank you very much for your thoughtfulness every year to have one of your students think of me.”
• “What a surprise I had the other day when I went to my mailbox. It was a Veterans Day letter. It made my day!”
• “Sending my deepest gratitude to you and the fifthgrade class. Please keep up the important work on educating your students of the sacrifices the veterans have made, some paying the ultimate price. All veterans definitely appreciate being acknowledged for their service to our country!”
• “Thank you all for the beautiful Veterans Day card. I truly appreciate you remembering me for serving our country as a Navy officer. Keep up the good work in school.”
So, if you think that saying “Thanks for your service” to a veteran is not a big deal, it may be a bigger deal than you can ever imagine.
On the theme of Veterans Day, there is a Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Christmas movie called “The Christmas Card” that is being aired through November and December. Check your local listings for date and time. It’s a story of a woman in a small town that sends out Christmas cards to the troops through her church, and one card brings an Army sergeant to her town. Edward Asner is one of the stars. Very good movie and I recommend it.
“Americans seems to be more occupied with the pursuit of happiness than on happiness itself.”
— G. K. Chesterton
“The bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge — it has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support. It will bear me over as it has for them.”
— Charles H. Spurgeon ( Staff writer Usalis can be reached at jusalis@ republicanherald. com)