There is no greater gift than for a fellow human being to lay down his life for another. That individual sacrifices the gift God himself bestowed upon them for the benefit of their fellow man. This is the act of selflessness we honor today. Included in our remembrance today should be those who also sustained injury. While their service to mankind wasn't ended on the battlefield, they carry the reminder of conflict through the rest of their days.
I vividly remember as a young man joining my grandparents at the Veteran's Hospital every year, serving hot dogs during their annual fair. I don't think the trauma I saw, both mental and physical, could be present in any other venue. We were in the heat of the Vietnam war, so many were just teens and early twenties, but just as many were older men having served in probably the Korean War. I'll never forget a older man hunkering down as if in a fox hole, curling up in a tight compacted ball, and efficiently covering the flame created by the match he struck to light his cigarette. The action was taken so to conceal his position so the enemy snipers couldn't target him as he enjoyed his addiction. Although he was safely within the borders of the freest nation on earth, far from the horrors of war, his mind was still in the battle. He'd never left the conflict that took his mind.
Another memory that haunts me to this day was, due to dietary concerns, having to tell some of the heroes in line that I couldn't serve them a hot dog. If they wore a blue tag it was a sign that the doctors had restricted what they could eat. Funny, these brave men had faced unfathomable horrors and dangers most of us will never know, and they had to worry about a hot dog doing them in. Some of them actually had tears in their eyes when told that hot dogs weren't on their menu that day. Thank God, orderlies were there to help explain and comfort these titans of war, as that task was far beyond my youthful reach. After all the pain these heroes had endured, the last thing I wanted to do was add to their misery.
Looking back I'm thankful I got to volunteer to serve the men that served me so faithfully. It gives me special pause on this day of remembrance, an appreciation I never would have had without the experience. I know there is a special place in Heaven for these angels who fought so we can enjoy our freedom. Please protect their sacrifice by protecting your freedom and the rights our forefathers realized for us. To pervert or to compromise what these brave men and women fought so valiantly for would be an injustice to their honor.