To Our Veterans: Thank You, And A Promise In Your Honor

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

Over the years, I have written a number of editorials for Veterans Day, trying to rub words together to find a spark of articulation, a flame of meaning, a fire to light the way toward expressing my deep respect and appreciation for the men and women who have served us, this nation, in our armed forces.

Respect and appreciation?

Awe, really.

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Utter awe.

I'll be the first to admit, and publicly, that I have a difficult time seeing myself in their shoes.

In their boots.

Veterans Day is Sunday, though we observe it next Monday, and my search for those words continues, as I rub vowels and consonants together, trying to generate heat and a thin rising wisp of smoke. But, I am certain, never well enough to express the full measure of my feelings about the courage and commitment shown by our veterans, many of whom paid the ultimate price, losing their lives in defense of our nation and those ideals and beliefs for which it stands, and every single one of them willing to give the only life they'll ever have.

How do you say Thank You for such a sacrifice?

Inventing new words or combining the components of our language in a new way might get the job done, if I could only do so.

The letters of our alphabet, however, are the only tools I have.


Thank you all so much.

I will give my life for this nation in your honor. Not in the way that each of you was willing to give your lives. I am not so brave. But I will give my life by living my life as an American to the best of my ability because, ultimately, that is the gift each of you has given me-the freedom to be who I am.

There is no greater gift than that.

I promise to unwrap it again and again every day, exploring more fully what it means to me to be an American.

Knowing that you have given others, everyone, that very same gift.