Thanks veterans for our peace and freedom | Letter

We are blessed in this country to have not had to fight a war on our own soil for many, many years. When I think of some countries where fighting goes on all the time, where children learn to carry weapons and kill and the elderly die because they don’t have anyone to help them, it makes me realize how lucky we are.

Veterans have bought our peace and freedom in America. In return, they have learned survival skills that they can pass on to the rest of us should we ever need them.

Because of this, we now have the knowledge and skills for how to survive built right into our society. Our veterans know how to defend America and how to survive during crisis situations. I think when the next conflict on American soil occurs, the other side better be darn careful that they don’t underestimate us. I do sleep better at night knowing this.

While many veterans return to America not wanting to talk about what happened, they often still teach their children some of what they learned. That’s a treasure of knowledge.

Veterans should always be honored and valued for not only what they did in America’s defense, but what they can do to help the rest of us when and if the need arises. I hope it never does…but I’m glad the knowledge is there when and if we ever need it.

As someone who works with veterans, I’ve heard time and time again, “I don’t deserve anything…I didn’t see any action.” I’ve seen veterans who were discharged from boot camp due to serious injury during training or veterans who were not injured and felt their time didn’t count for anything because they didn’t come under fire. I sometimes want to shake them and say, “You were lucky, but you still served with honor!”

It doesn’t take injury or the horrors of being directly in the line of fire to make heroes. Boot camp is well known for toughening soldiers up; you didn’t get through it? Well, you still were brave enough to sign up not knowing what the future held. You still went through the mental anguish of knowing you might get sent overseas. You could have been called into action at any time. There is honor in stepping up and taking the risk of being sent into battle.

Veterans were there if the call to action came. You trained and stood proud in defense of your country. That means you stood for each of us here at home. A hero isn’t necessarily someone who is maimed or killed in action; a hero is someone who steps forward fully knowing and appreciating what the possibilities are.

Thank you for stepping up.

Keith Mathews

Enumclaw