"From this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be rememberèd -- we few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother..."
-- Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3
Today, the Mountain Home community will join others across the United States to pay respects to those who have served their nation as well as those still in uniform.
Veteran's Day is very special to the people of this community because it allows all of us honor all those who have served in addition to those who have fallen in the cause of peace and freedom.
Those who have not served -- those who have never worn a military uniform or been part of a military family -- struggle to fathom what Veterans Day represents. They don't understand the sacrifices our military family has to pay every single day -- the long separations and the fear that comes with having a loved one deployed in an active combat zone.
With the holiday season rapidly approaching and people's attention focused on making preparations to celebrate the season, it seems that Veterans Day has become an after thought. Many retailers out there use -- and more to the point abuse -- the holiday so they can promote different sales.
How many of them actually bother to say a word or two thanking our veterans in the first place?
While most of our nation's combat-weary veterans are home this Veterans Day, we can't forget there are others out there putting their lives on the line in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, others are serving in the Republic of Korea as the first line of defense against continued aggression from Communist North Korea. People often forget that a state of war technically exists between both nations.
While the threat of war was pushed off the front pages of most newspapers and barely rates a blip on most nightly news broadcasts, they remain at the forefront of our military families.
Over the centuries, advances in protective armor our military men and women carry into combat, combined with incredible advances in medicine, have kept our casualty rates extremely low. However, those wounded in combat, both physically and mentally, will carry these scars for the rest of their lives.
We should never forget their sacrifices and should commit ourselves to ensuring our wounded warriors and their families have the long-term care they need.
At the same time, we can't forget that, since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, our nation has lost thousands of men and women in the line of duty. Each new grave site represents a shining beacon of hope that was silenced by those who stand against the ideals this nation represents -- a sacrifice for honorable ideals.
In addition, the small flags that decorate the graves at Mountain View Cemetery honor our local veterans since the time of the Civil War up to today. Across this country, we can find even older monuments to the sacrifices for liberty that our veterans have been called upon to perform.
While many of today's veterans have seen combat, there are others out there that were spared from the horrors others faced. However, each of them played an integral role in maintaining the "machinery" of the American military that has consistently advanced the cause of freedom around the world.
Many of us out there continue to argue about the necessity of going to war and whether the price we pay is worth it. However, it should be noted that the decision to go to war isn't one made by those who fight them. That decision is purely political.
But once the decision is made, the nation's best and bravest have answered the call throughout our nation's history to go forward and engage the enemy on battlefields throughout the world. They answered that call in the belief that this nation asks nothing more and nothing less of them than to make others free.
That is a noble calling that those who have never worn a uniform will never appreciate. Many of those who have served would likely agree that the sacrifices they and their families have made were worth it.
This nation can't do enough to honor its veterans. They have paid the price in the day-to-day sacrifices that come with military life, which includes the "ultimate" price their friends and comrades paid as they fell on the field of battle.
On this Veterans Day, we can do no less than to give them our respect. They have truly earned it.
-- Brian S. Orban