By Katie Kieffer
Veterans, we think about you all the time. Sometimes we fail to tell you. Today, on Veteran’s Day, we put our admiration for you into words.
World War II, Korean and Vietnam Veterans
We will start with you. You fought for our freedom. You watched your closest friends fall by your side and you were heartbroken, knowing it could have been you. You shoulder the burden of painful and haunting memories. Many of you have physical wounds; you sacrificed your warrior’s body for us, people you never met. You use a cane or a wheelchair now because of your choice to put us before yourself. We thank you.
Many of you also have another kind of wound; a stinging disappointment as you witness what seems to be a complete disrespect or lack of understanding for your sacrifice. You recently witnessed an administration that tolerated illegal immigrant advocates prancing about the National Mall while you were barred from seeing your war memorials in their full grandeur. The World War II Memorial’s huge centerpiece fountain was turned off during Honor Flight tours and Korean and Vietnam vets were unable to walk through their memorials. Our country built these memorials to honor you and some of you missed your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see them up close. We thank you for your valor in the face of this injustice. Most Americans do appreciate what you do; it is just a few self-centered politicians who can’t get their act together. Please know that you are appreciated.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans
You are tired. You have been deployed repeatedly. You deal with a gigantic, slow-moving bureaucracy as you seek medical care or counseling for your epidemic levels for post-traumatic pain and stress. It concerns us greatly to know that one U.S. service member commits suicide every day. We implore you to hang in there; tomorrow will be a brighter day. You have fought for us and we will fight for you with our pocketbooks, our votes and our voices, to help your post-war lives improve. Terrorist thugs blew up your brothers and sisters with grenades, IEDs and bullets. We cannot grasp the extent of your pain, but we can stand by you. Stay strong; you are our heroes.
Veterans Facing Unjust Disciplinary Action
In September, I told you about Lt. Clint Lorance—an American war hero who was unjustly sentenced to 20 years confinement, forfeiture of all pay, and dismissal from the U.S. Army because the Obama administration is apparently trying to appease the Afghan government. He still needs your help. After you learn more about his case, please consider signing this petition for his release. Clint’s mother wrote me today and informed me that: “His spirits are high. He remains positive. We still have no date set for a clemency hearing. …He asked that we express to all supporters how thankful he is.” Here is an excerpt from Clint’s latest letter to his supporters as he awaits justice from his prison cell:
I’d like to take the opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to all of you for the explosion in fundraising over the past several weeks. I’m honored to be the one to tell you that your hard work has paid off and we’ve met our mark with legal fees. To that end, I’ve hired Attorney Frank Spinner of Colorado to represent me in the Clemency and Appeals process.
In the coming weeks, our diligent team will enhance the DefendVeteranLorance.com website in an effort to improve functionality as well as some capabilities that will allow you to stay abreast on the case. From this pivotal point forward, the fight continues by remaining in contact with our elected representatives, making sure they know that we won’t stand for this on our watch. A tiny flea will drive a big dog crazy. Again, I thank you for your continued fight. Never Give Up. Never Give In.
P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s
Some of our veterans are still missing. Some, like Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, are captive in the hands of the Taliban. Bowe has been tortured and his family anxiously awaits his homecoming. While many of our POW/MIAs have returned to us, their minds and hearts are scarred by the pain and confinement they have endured. Please keep our current and former POW/MIAs and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Happy Veteran’s Day to all of our brave warriors. We thank you.
Here is a beautiful piece of art by my sister Amie Kieffer that reminds me of freedom: