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Editorial: We Americans owe unpayable debt to veterans for their service

From the Times West Virginian of Fairmont:

There is a debt that we Americans can never amply or fully pay.

We owe our freedom and lifestyle to a group of men and women respectfully identified as veterans. From one generation to another, these veterans protect, defend and patrol our land of declared democracy.

Our interests in other countries have likewise been protected and defended by this dedicated group of patriots.

It is possible to walk through any neighborhood and exchange niceties with whomever we encounter while being totally unaware we are conversing with a veteran. Most do not want recognition or public acclaim. They consider their contribution to freedom a duty acknowledged and responsibility met.

If we could honestly and accurately define their contribution to our country, we would be astounded as to the earned place of gratitude and respect we owe them. Sports, politics, movies and television all have personalities who rate high in public recognition, but they pale in comparison to the ever marching in continual service legions of veterans in this country.

Ordinary words of the English language struggle to adequately express the enormity of our indebtedness to these patriotic men and women who, through their service, gave unselfishly of themselves, often in acts of valor, to guarantee our freedom.

The sight of any United States armed forces uniform should instantly ignite a flame of gratitude and national pride in our heart of patriotism. In all probability, the uniforms proudly worn in past service hang in closets and may no longer fit. The aroma of mothballs has replaced the brisk fragrance of newly made material. Donning this uniform suddenly transformed ordinary citizens into proud defenders of democracy.

May we as Americans continually jog our memories of past contributions from our illustrious and priceless army of veterans who have given so much, in so many ways, to so many. Their imagined marching cadence may have slowed, their sharp shooter eyes dimmed, and their thirst for battle eroded over the years, but their love of country has grown and their days of service fondly recalled.

In our humble efforts of sincere honor and gratitude, we proclaim our deepest respect for these legions of men and women whom we thankfully and lovingly call veterans.

You have made America safe and defended, and for your actions, we are eternally in your debt.

May God bless America and all who have defended and are defending her.

— Elton Slusser

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