Dr. Bill Atwood

Honoring Marines and veterans everywhere

Every year I write a column regarding the celebration of the Veterans Day holiday as well as the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. They always seem to be tied together in one column because the Marine’s celebrate on Nov. 10 and the rest of the Veterans are honored on Nov. 11.

It is rare indeed that the dates are split in a manner that permits me to write an entire column on each. However; it would be very easy to fill not only my column but an entire edition of the Sierra Star with accolades and expressions of gratitude for each group. I never feel that we can say thank you enough.

This past Tuesday, Americans across this great land submitted their ballots in a national general election. It is the peaceful expression of each and every single one of us that is counted and the outcome is shared. Few are ever really happy completely with the results of each race or issue. What we celebrated on Wednesday was that the citizens had spoken, the results, for the most part, are in and the losers have conceded, the winners have pledged to work for and with all sides and we go about our usual daily routines.

As I cast my vote, my thoughts my thoughts went straight to the men and women who have stood the watch, fought in battles, experienced injuries that were serious or minor, and that 1,050,000 Americans took their final breath on a battlefield to preserve our sacred, God-given, Constitutionally-guaranteed Rights. They fought, so we get to vote.

The Marine Corps was born in Tun Tavern on Nov. 10, 1775, in Philadelphia and they have been serving this nation with honor and distinction. Never a mutiny in their ranks and never have they not accomplished the job they were assigned to do. Men tend to ask themselves during periods of their lives if they really mattered. Marines never has to ask that question of themselves. From the American Revolution to Tripoli, Mexico, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the Middle East the Marines have lived up to their motto of Semper Fidelis. For more than 88,755 days they have demonstrated strength of character that sets them apart from the rest of us. Happy 243rd Birthday Marines.

On Nov. 11, we will honor every man and woman who has ever sworn to protect this nation as a member of the Armed Forces. Our all-volunteer military means that only 1-percent of us are truly in the fight. Whether they saw combat or they never actually were placed in combat does not diminish our indebtedness to them as they were all willing to go where the country needed them to report. No questions asked they simply follow orders. As a result, you and I are free. Our Bill of Rights exists protected by the military. Our laws are followed, our voices heard, our votes counted, our economy strong, our country safe from harm, and our way of life envied by the rest of the world because those brave and glorious one-percenters answered the call to duty.

On the 11th as well as on this Monday as we enjoy our holiday let us all be sure to utter a prayer of thanks that those Veterans are on our side, and watching our backs. Take in a parade or Memorial service.

Had they not answered that calling we would be languishing under the brutal boot of dictators and despots and life would certainly be miserable.

To all Veterans: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.