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Veteran heroes pass the torch to keep us free

POSTED: November 11, 2011 1:00 a.m.

This Veteran's Day we should remember and thank all those who have bravely served our country and military. We want to especially recognize and honor those of World War II. Why? Because we are rapidly losing them! According to the Veteran's Administration we are losing veterans of WWII at a rate of more than 740 a day.

Beginning 70 years ago, 16 million of America's finest, knowing their country was in peril, shouldered arms and joined the fight to save the world from global dominance by the evil Axis powers.

The magnitude of the challenge before them was enormous. The sacrifices they made were of the highest order. They postponed marriages, deferred college, gave up careers and left loved ones behind, then marched off to fight oppression in foreign countries.

Names like Bataan, Guadalcanal, Midway, Corregidor and Normandy became a part of America's everyday lexicon. Before victory was declared and peace restored, America had suffered over a million wounded and more than 400,000 who gave their full measure of devotion. They lie buried under white crosses and stars in the United States and all around the world.

With the end of hostilities, our GIs laid down their arms and returned home to build the most prosperous nation that has ever existed. They taught us by example the meanings of duty, patriotism and honor.

How do we pay homage to those who gave us so much? We can preserve the things they held so dear. We must teach our children about love of country as we were taught. We must accept responsibility and duty to serve should we be called upon just as they did. We can insist that our nation's government be conducted with dignity and integrity.

Today's all-volunteer warriors fight to rid the world of forces that threaten us, al-Qaida and the Taliban. They've served in places names Baghdad, Fallujah, Kabul and Kandahar. They are some of America's finest, taking up the standard as those of the "Greatest Generation," Korea and Vietnam, relinquish it.

Again, thank you for your service veterans. Today's service men and women can take it from here. They will make you proud.

Linda Sundstrom
Gainesville



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