What should I say on Veteran#039;s Day?

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

A school has asked me to speak to their student body on Veteran's Day so I have been giving considerable thought as to what I should say. I have concerns, ideas – some general and some specific. Here goes.

President John F. Kennedy said in his Inaugural Address: "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what you can do for your country." His advice is more relevant today than ever.

Embark on a career of "taking your country back"? How? As much as you may dislike the idea, get involved in municipal, county, state and federal government as soon as you can register to vote. Run for elective office. Meet the corrupt politicians head on. With the advent of the internet you can do this inexpensively. Nothing scares a politician more than having "the light of day" shine on him or her. We need just as many or more honest statesmen in high government as we have top notch commanders leading our military. Remember, the statesmen boss the military.

Probe! Ask questions! Make the politicians answer you truthfully regardless of their party affiliation. Example: I have heard it said that many of the projects ongoing in the City of Andalusia are paid for by grants! Don't let it end there. Ask where this money comes from. From where and how did it originate? The tooth fairy did not leave it under a tree on the Andalusia court square I can assure you. It is your tax money, and it is not free. You or your parents struggled to earn it!

Question who should enter military service. I ask you to ponder this in your heart. Since America is at war and undoubtedly will be for some time to come, should a volunteer army solely be charged with the responsibility of fighting and dying in this war? Or, should all Americans be given an equal responsibility to shoulder this burden? I contend that the shameful Department of Veterans Affairs would not be in the sad shape that it is in now if a much broader base of Americans were serving on active duty and coming home sick, wounded or killed in action! A very small percentage of present members of Congress or their families have ever served on active duty. The only persons seeking the Presidency in 2004 who ever served on active duty are Senator John Kerry and General Wesley Clark (ret.).

Ask this question continuously: How did "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (Amendment I, Constitution of the United States 1791) turn into "Separation of Church and State"? Beats me! That is far more of a stretch than the Founding Fathers ever intended.