Today is Veterans Day in the United States. It is a day to reflect on our former (and present) Armed Forces service members. I have several family members who served in the US military at some time in their lives. So it should come as no surprise that I think that this is a day that all Americans should pause to observe. Currently (and since 1973) the United States has no draft or military service requirement. This means that, despite the 9/11 attacks, there is currently no system in place by which we induce or force anyone to serve. We have never required our people to undergo military training (as many countries do). Our only drafts were during times of war. So, it is indeed important to remember that the United States (and much of the free world) is protected by Americans who volunteer. And there are plenty of veterans who went to war without complaint when drafted in our past wars: the world wars, Korea, and Vietnam.
They don't do it for the pay; that is barely enough to live on. They don't do it for glory; they are rarely honored. They don't do it because of a some guarantee that they will be well taken care of when they return; many suffer from serious injuries, psychological and physical, that are not addressed adequately. They don't do it for personal safety; many go to work every day with a far higher risk of dying on the job than the rest of us.
Our service men and women (and their families) do it for the rest of us, so that we can enjoy freedom that is so ever present and encompassing that we often take it for granted. They do it in the firm belief that, even with all its imperfections, The United States is still, and should always be, the uncontested gold standard by which Freedom is measured by all.
Thank you Dad, Mom, Larry, and all our veterans and active duty military and their families.