By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District
Next Tuesday we will celebrate one of the great American holidays: Veterans Day. On Nov. 11 every year, we honor our fellow Americans who have served in our armed forces.
Veterans Day is about more than parades—although certainly a military parade is fitting recognition for our veterans.
Veterans Day is a time when we reflect on the many blessings we enjoy as Americans. One of our greatest blessings is freedom: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press, and freedom to pursue happiness as we see fit.
Today our freedoms are under attack, from without and within. Some don’t like our way of life, and they want to destroy it. Others don’t seem to understand that our freedoms are precious gifts that need to be protected. The saying is true: “Freedom isn’t free.”
Our veterans understand that truth better than anyone. They make sacrifices every day, whether they are in combat situations or not. Some, of course, do see combat, and some make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.
That is why I consider our veterans America’s greatest heroes. They are prepared to put their lives on the line for us every day. They work to strengthen and preserve peace not only here, but across the world. The rights we enjoy under our Constitution are safe today because brave men and women stand ready to fight for them.
We must not take this freedom for granted. Veterans Day helps ensure that we won’t.
If you know any veterans, take some time on Veterans Day to remember them. Attend a Veterans Day parade. Thank the veterans you know for their service. Invite them to dinner or take them to lunch.
If you don’t know any veterans, you can contact the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at 517-481-8083. They will gladly put you in touch with veterans who may need assistance.
As long as we have patriots who are willing to risk all they have to serve their country, we will be able to live up to the words of President Abraham Lincoln: “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
We owe our freedoms to these patriots, to the men and women in uniform who put their nation before themselves. May we be ever grateful for all that our veterans have done for us.
This column first appeared in the Spinal Column. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee. He serves the citizens of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.