Vic­to­ries come from do­ers, not ob­servers

The Republican Herald - - COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS - John Usalis

“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)

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