Although it’s past, Independence Day is worth a thought all year long
How much more can we ever learn about Independence Day? How much more
do we need to know? And mainly, how can we relate anything about that
day to anything about today?
We are still involved in wars for freedom today. Many may not be our
wars, but we are involved in them anyway. Most countries, if not all
countries, want to be free. They might go about fighting for their
freedom, as we did, but I never heard of that freedom just being
handed to them on a silver platter. In some cases, we might help other
countries in their efforts, even by just sending them supplies or
money for their war effort, or food for their people.
But one thing is always true about wars or the fight for freedom, no
matter who is fighting. There are always casualties. This country
suffered them back in the original fight for our freedom, and
countries, including ours, are still suffering them for their freedom
Wars usually end at some time, and one side or the other is seen as
the victor. But that doesn’t mean that they suffered less than the
so-called losers. We sometimes forget that there are really no winners
in a war; there are only those who fought for their freedom and paid
the huge price of winning that freedom and forever then have to live
with the aftereffects of winning.
Those in this country who have fought and may be returning home bring
more than what they left with. They return with not only memories of
the war they have been in, but memories of the friends they have lost,
perhaps memories of losing an arm, or a leg, or both, or even more;
yet some still return home hoping to return to their life as before.
“As before” almost never will exist again. With some, the physical
effects are so obvious that one can’t ignore them, even though one
tries to return to the way it was. Obviously when we love one who has
been to war and returns in some way not quite the way he was, our love
is still there, if indeed it was really love to begin with. But the
returning service member doesn’t feel the same, because of the major
change that has come over him, and sometimes it’s that very feeling
that can cause the problem.
War changes people. It can change the way we look and it definitely
can change the way we feel. It can change relationships. The whole
idea behind war is to achieve something better than we had or to
return to what we had before. The price is always high, but sometimes
there just is no other way to get through the situation.
We must not only appreciate our service members, but see to it that
they get all the help they need to get as whole again as they can get,
and that means to feel whole in their hearts and mind and in their
interactions with others. Thank them for their service as though you
mean it, and invite them to your gatherings, and don’t avoid talking
about things they might want to share.
Always, when possible, vote for any issues that will grant more care
for vets who need even more attention than you can imagine. Many of us
may not know that the rate of suicide among returning veterans is
growing higher and higher every day. Their noticeable wartime problems
may get taken care of, but many problems are not immediately
noticeable. Many of those vets don’t ever let their mental problems be
known till it’s too late. We need to give them every chance to return
to “as before” if there is any chance at all that they can. We can’t
just ignore them, or hope for the best, but we also can’t allow their
medical and/or mental care to be any less than what they need.
So while many will be celebrating every Independence Day in their
usual fashion, why don’t those of us who really care do a little more:
why don’t we visit the local VA hospital and share part of the day
with those vets who need a cheery smile or just a little time to talk
to someone who really knows and appreciates what they did for their
country… your country.
America’s freedom was won the hard way, and many veterans are both
living and no longer living proof of that. Show them that you care
every day of any year, be thankful for their willingness to do what
they did, and keep them in your prayers. We may not always have the
freedoms we still have left today, but we’ll always have the brave men
and women who knew the job was dangerous when they took it.
God bless America and all those who contributed to make it great… when
it needed to be done.
* * * * *
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She
writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at email@example.com.