As we embark on yet another Veterans Day this Sunday, Nov. 11, it’s important that Americans remember that no one did more to keep this country free than the soldiers who put their lives on the line in time of need.

How accurate one of the latest bumper stickers to hit the market is in terms of placing credit where it belongs: “The land of the free, because of the brave!”

That’s why this newspaper and hundreds like it have an obituary policy that ensures a flag runs with every veteran’s death notice, for these Americans are rightfully honored as this country’s most highly regarded patriots.

It’s a darn shame that the protesters who would take a knee in front of the American flag, during the national anthem, don’t realize the incredible significance of the flag to those who served under it. Failing to honor that flag, whether within your constitutional rights or not, is a kick in the teeth to the veterans who fought so bravely to see it waving over the battlefield for another day.

Soliders who answered the call to duty are what we will gather to remember at ceremonies in area schools this Friday and Monday, when we recognize the day that marks the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the end of World War I.

It is set aside as a day to pay tribute to all veterans and especially those who are still with us — still in need of our thanks, prayers and support.?Some are still trying to make the adjustment to civilian life, many have long-term health issues to battle and most have suffered from some type of post-traumatic stress disorder. The scars, mental and physical, will be with them for a lifetime.

Originally called Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1919, it celebrated the first anniversary of the end of World War?I. President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954, to honor those who served in all American wars. 

As the first part of a touching story goes, author unknown, “It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Our youngest veterans were in the Gulf War, the war in Iraq and still today, the War on Terror in Afghanistan and other places around the world. It has been more than four decades since the guns fell silent in Vietnam. Longer still for Korea — and more than an average lifetime for World War II. Have we forgotten the sacrifices and the reasons why Americans fought for freedom, even to spare other countries from tyranny?

In the coming week, we will honor that group of true patriots who are responsible for the freedoms we enjoy in these United States. They are ordinary men and women who served in an extraordinary way. Support the men and women who ensured that future generations could enjoy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness promised by our nation’s founders.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

    Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Doug Etten.