Harriet Feiberger: Confluence or conflict
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
This day, declared by Congress to be a federal holiday, offers the opportunity to express appreciation and, in doing so, to gain greater knowledge of what could become a confluence of lasting peace, if not with other nations, at least among ourselves.
To honor veterans is to attempt an understanding of the magnitude of what a soldier knows and to somehow acknowledge the men and women who have served on our behalf. They have stood where we have not, having undergone the training that has and will protect us, all of us, in the event of confrontation with those who wish us harm. Because some 7 billion people share this planet, that is always a looming possibility.
The words are simple, easy to say: Thank you. But actions do speak louder than words, and our country at this moment is far from demonstrating gratitude for much of anything. This day offers a moment to pause and take a good look around.
Talk fills communication channels around the world. Everyone clamors for freedom. Words come easily, but we are caught up in the barrage of the day-to-day melee.
Proceeding through the days and weeks and years, each in our own way, few of us understand what it means to have to physically fight others in order to stay alive. Even fewer know about combat on behalf of people we do not even know.
With all the jumble in the world of today, recognition of those who stand guard can assist in gaining a larger perspective. But we shall have to see what surrounds us and grasp the dangers observed with telescopic vision.
Resolving differences will be the key to America’s maturity. We are still young in our effort to be the country we want to be, still arguing among ourselves, unable to reach up for that something so good that people are willing to die for it.
Those graduating schoolchildren of the 1960s are now grandparents and community leaders. As youngsters, they spoke loudly and mostly without hesitation. Growing up and growing older, they have learned about the power of resolving differences by recognizing and learning from those who disagree. America is not a failure but rather, a success story that continues to be told. Now is the time to see and hear the promise of the future.
The men and women of that future will look back at today and see the beginnings of a path that can pass with success between two choices: the exponential growth of war’s potential destruction and the knowledge of war that can foster an increasing desire for peace.
Our soldiers protect us, standing guard over that path. Those who have served have come home. In our midst, they are the voices that speak from experience the rest of us can only touch from the sidelines of that path they have shown us.
By choosing confluence instead of conflict, we can say, “Thank you, veterans. Today is your day.”
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