Our obligation to soldiers and veterans
Three servicemen in their camo fatigues sat with family and friends at a high table in the Greene Turtle at Five Points last Sunday afternoon. They were surrounded by a sea of Philadelphia Eagles fans, uniformed in green jerseys, who swarmed in to watch their surging team take apart the Broncos.
Between cheering great plays, the fans grumbled that the game wasn't available on their home televisions. Thank the arcane world of contracts, blackouts and designated media markets.
The soldiers weren't complaining. They were having a good time before heading off, midgame, to their next assignments. Their spirits were high as people stopped by and thanked them for their service. "Thank you," said one in return.
"We're happy to be doing this for the country and everyone here."
Time passes quickly. They will soon join hundreds of thousands of veterans who have served their country honorably and faithfully. All deserve our thanks and recognition for protecting and aiding us whether in enemy conflict or natural disaster.
That's what makes the annual Veterans Day holiday so important.
We enjoy our freedoms in large part because of the willingness of the armed forces to stand up against those who would deny us those freedoms.
Our obligation as citizens who value our freedoms is to use them responsibly, to recognize and appreciate those who serve, and to see that all who serve receive top-quality mental and physical care as needed.
But the greatest appreciation we can show is keeping pressure on elected officials to decide wisely about military use.
We must constantly recognize these are friends, family and neighbors, not faceless agents of the government.
They deserve to know they have our conviction that they should be sent into armed conflict only after every other option for resolution and protection of freedoms has been exhausted.