By Joe Angelino
Sun Staff Contributor
Before there was a United States, there were U.S. veterans. Older than the country itself, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps were established nearly a year before the colonies declared their independence from King George, III. In the second sentence of that famous declaration, our forefathers wrote that all men are created equal. Indeed, we are all created equal, but then some people choose to enter the military, and all equivalency ends.
America loves her veterans, and shows it in many ways. The most visible show of gratitude is November 11th, Veterans Day, with parades, speeches and music. This federal holiday will be celebrated in towns big and small, all across the nation. There are other displays of gratitude such as discounts from retailers and reduced admission at many public events. I think the reason for the appreciation is because so few men dare to raise their hand and take the oath to support and defend our constitution. There is no obligation to serve; but the opportunity is available to everyone. Despite that, only .05 percent of our population protects over the remaining 320 million people. And while we are talking about the few, if you are a female veteran, you are truly someone special.
It makes me wonder how many of those 320 million U.S. citizens are even conscious of the effort that goes into their safety and security. And not only the safety of the United States, but frankly, most of the world’s freedom rests upon the shoulders of 19 to 26 year olds in our nation’s uniform. The sacrifices of our veterans are what made our country what it is today, and causes potential future adversaries to avoid conflict because they know our all-volunteer force is deadly serious about its responsibilities. For nearly 45 years, our newest crop of veterans has entered the military because they wanted to do so. No one has been drafted into service since 1973.