PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Opinion

November 12, 2012

Honor veterans every day of year

PORT ARTHUR — Area residents lined streets along the homecoming route of U.S. Marine Sgt. Yarbrough of Port Arthur on Friday. Many waved American flags or wore clothing or red white and blue. One of our own was coming home and he had been seriously injured in the service of us, and many wanted a chance to show they cared. It was an awe inspiring sight and while it won’t give Yarbrough back his legs, we hope the knowledge that his home town, and all the surrounding towns, appreciate his service and sacrifice can give him just a little of the inspiration he has given us.

Today we commemorate Veterans Day. Celebrate is not the right word. While we do celebrate those who answer the call to serve their country in the armed services, we are grieved that many made the ultimate sacrifice and left empty places around the tables in many homes and empty places in the hearts of their loved ones. We are deeply touched as well knowing that many returned home with bodies broken by answering their call to  duty or with minds and emotions rocked by the ravages of hostilities.

We set aside this day each year to remember those who have served. But as we approach 12 years in combat overseas, the gesture of annual remembrance seems too little. We try to make up by applauding soldiers in airports or telling those we meet that we thank them for their service. But as we continue to call on people like Sgt. Yarbrough to put their lives on the line so we can live ours with the freedoms bought and paid for with his blood and the blood of other patriots, we need to do more.

Our representatives in Congress wouldn’t miss a chance to stand in public and proclaim their support for our troops. But we need them to support our troops in the quiet obscurity of the committee meeting rooms and insist that medical care, educational opportunities, jobs programs and pension benefits for our veterans are as top of the line and the service our veterans performed for us. Americans do appreciate their service and would willingly stand in support of treating our veterans the way they deserve to be treated, both while they are serving and after they have served.

Seeing Golden Triangle residents line the streets Friday in support of one of our own was truly inspirational. But after the fanfare is over, Sgt. Yarbrough and all the others deserve the support of this nation every day of the year.

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