All the freedoms we take for granted today have been preserved by hard sacrifices.
Many have given their lives, limbs, willingly left their comfortable homes and families for years at a time to face death in battle.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Carlos Garcia pulls watch security while searching mountains in Andar province of Afghanistan June 6, 2007.
That’s the meaning of Veterans Day.
One day out of 365 or 366 to honor those who have made this most extraordinary commitment.
It would seem to be a simple matter about which all Americans could agree.
Yet there are some in our country who see even this as a matter of controversy – a matter of politics.
Of course, even those people don’t have any reservations about exercising the freedoms they inherited as a result of those sacrifices. They don’t mind building fortunes. They don’t mind exercising their First Amendment freedoms. They don’t even mind subverting and undermining the very civilization and social code that made those freedoms possible.
Maybe life has just become too easy in 21st century America. Maybe we’re spoiled. Maybe we need to be shaken to the very core like so many who came before us. Maybe our world needs to be turned upside down for us to appreciate the meaning of sacrifice, duty and honor.
I’m thinking and praying about all these things today, as I try to do every Veterans Day. It’s the very least those of us who have never served in the military can do.
I’m also gratified today that maybe – just maybe – I had a little something to do with shaking up the world of one of America’s largest corporations with regard to the way it has trifled with Veterans Day since its inception nine years ago.
I refer to Google, the Internet giant known for changing its corporate logo to reflect various holidays and special occasions.
It’s not a big deal. It’s not going to change the world. But it illustrates the impact we can have when we stand up for what’s right – boldly and with determination. Even one of the largest and most successful mega-corporations in the world will listen – sometimes.
My highest expectation was to get the attention of the execs at Google – to give them something to think about, something other than making billions of dollars. The hard work appears to have paid off – at least to some degree.
I tell you all this not to slap myself on the back.
No, I don’t deserve that.
The people who deserve that today are the people who have served their country so bravely and with such honor.
I didn’t risk my life pointing out Google’s moral oversight.
But those we honor today did risk their lives so that corporations like Google could operate in a free society, so that you and I could speak our minds and worship as our consciences dictate, so that we would have the freedom to govern ourselves and live in the greatest country the world has ever known.
It’s not a big deal that Google finally joined the celebration of Veterans Day. But it’s a start.