We all heard the sad news a few months ago about the death of Mr. Frank Buckles, the last surviving veteran of World War One. He was truly an American hero. But someone I know, a friend of mine, posted a statement on Facebook that struck me the wrong way. And even though his statement was well intended, I'm afraid I took exception to it. His statement was that he wished there were more men like Mr. Buckles for our young people to look up to.
My contention is that there are more men like Mr. Buckles; more than we can possibly imagine. And not just men. We have numerous women standing in harm's way every day. Anyone brave enough to wear the American uniform and fight an enemy that can't be seen or even clearly identified certainly qualifies as an American hero.
Heroes aren’t born–they happen. Heroes emerge from situations. A combat soldier doesn’t go into battle with the intention of saving his friends from a fortified enemy. He doesn’t plan to risk his own life in an attempt to save fellow soldiers trapped in a crossfire of enemy bullets. No, heroes are not born. They rise from the shadows and background, and they risk everything in a single moment of selflessness for the benefit of others.
Let's not hang our hats on the memory of just one man. Let's honor that man. Let's respect his service. But at the same time, next time you see one of our men or women in uniform, take a moment to thank him or her for their sacrifice.And while I'm venting, let me say one more thing about our military heroes. Not all heroes are still in uniform. We have veterans living among us that only wore the uniform for a few years but who stood the chance of paying the ultimate price of freedom. Many of them served in Viet Nam, then came home to disgraceful demonstrations with self-righteous knot-heads calling them all kinds of terrible names, and accusing them of unthinkable acts. Some of those veterans live on our city streets and sleep in our public parks, forgotten and abandoned by the very people (us) that they fought for. Look around you. Chance are there is a veteran within 100 yards of you right now.
Well, that's my vent for today. I'm not asking you to kiss a veteran, but I am asking you to respect the sacrifice they made. Whether they were wounded or not doesn't matter. It's the uniform that matters, and what that uniform stands for, which is greater than any single individual.
If you have young people in your home, or if you just like a good, clean, sci/fi adventure that will touch your heart and fire your imagination, I welcome you to read an excerpt from Escape to Destiny, the first book in our Galactic Axia young adult adventure series. Also, if you'll click on this cover, you can read an interview we did with Beyond Worlds magazine.