Article Overview:   Millions of Americans have fought in wars around the world, and countless numbers of them have shed their blood.   These "Children of Vigilance" are the few willing to die for others.   There are those who refuse to salute them on this day.    I salute them, and ask you to read this story and find out why many "tears of blood" fall from their eyes when people turn their back on their heroism.


Tuesday--November 11, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 790
Why Young Men and Women Volunteer To Die For Freedom
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Nov. 11, 2003-- America is one of the unique nations in the world when it comes to sacrificing its young for the lofty ideals of freedom.
      Over the past two centuries, hundreds of thousands of America's finest youth have taken arms to battle, willing to die for the preservation of freedom in the face of tyranny and oppression.

America's legacy of sacrifice began in the American Revolution

     The legacy began in the American Revolution, ran through the Civil War, extended itself through World War I and II, through Korea and Vietnam, and now continues in the deserts and villages of Iraq.
      At this moment, nearly 200,000 Americans patrol the country of Iraq and Afghanistan, daily offering their lives so that the youth of those countries might have the same opportunity their great great great great grandparents provided for them--the right to chose and be free to evolve within their own worlds rather than be dictated by a government that looks upon them as nails and considers itself the hammer.
      History reminds us that most nations who send their young to fight battles do so with idea in mind that they will conquer those nations, shovel them into the aggressor's fold and assimilate the children of the conquered lands.

The "empire" builders go back to the Roman conquests

      These "empire" builders go back to the Roman conquests, but are not limited by them.    Since the dawn of time marauding bands of warriors from one village swept through others, usually killing the men and capturing the women and children, expanding their land and wealth by "taking" from one group to strengthen their own.
      In recent history the Nazi occupation of Europe serves as modern history's example of how ravenous the Beast of Terror's appetite is to consume all its neighbors and rule them.
      Another was the Soviet Empire.

Today the mad dogs of Terrorism continue to attack

      Today, the mad dogs of Terrorism still attack their leashes, lunging rabidly toward the weak, snarling and gnashing fangs to spark Fear, Intimidation and instill Complacency in those they seek to cower before them, to prostate themselves at the altar of the Beast.
      Americans have been noted to rush to the rescue of the weak and oppressed, to stave off the Beast of Terror, and then walk away from the land without hoisting its flag, without turning the freed nation into a "slave" or raping the wealth of the nation as tribute.
      Instead, America is most noted for leaving the blood of its young to soak in the soil of the nations it fights to free, or to remain free, from the shadow of Terrorism.
      In Vietnam I wrote a story about a fierce battle with the North Vietnamese.   The most powerful part of my story was not just about the battle itself, but related to a patrol we conducted weeks following the major conflict.
      We returned to the battle scene to sweep through the area, to insure the North Vietnamese did not re-infiltrate the area.   As we were sloughing through the rice paddies where countless of our fellow Marines were killed and wounded, I spotted a leaf near a paddy dyke mound.   It was bright green in parts, but a rusty color in others.   I knelt down and studied it.   The rust was the residue of a Marine's blood, caked on the surface of the leaf.

I thought about the American blood let out all through Vietnam, Korea, Europe... and now the Middle East

          It had become part of the landscape, part of the fertilization of the soil.    I thought about the American blood let out all through Vietnam, through Korea, Europe.    I thought about the "seeds of Freedom" planted in the soil of many lands, issued from the bodies of young men and women who bore arms and offered their lives so that others might taste the fruits of freedom, might enjoy the privileges of democracy rather than the enslavement of tyranny and oppression.
        Today, many critics rattle their sabers and point the sharp tips of their tongues at cutting the legs from under our military in Iraq.   They want our young people to come home, to not be put at risk of death in some foreign land and become a name, a statistic of war.
        Little do they realize that the men and women, whom some would call boys and girls, of the American military have chosen the right to die for others.
Few volunteer to die.   Only those who do so understand totally the honor of standing for the right of others to live in freedom.
       In my own case, I was a witness to perhaps the greatest reason a young man would give his life in combat to people in a far-off land.  In a small village called Mo Duc, our unit was one of many assigned to protect the villagers from threat of death if they voted in the first democratic election held in Vietnam.

I worried the villagers would become victims of the Beast of Terror's threat

        We surrounded the village to keep the North Vietnamese from tyrannizing the potential voters.    Many of our fellow Marines died or were wounded as we established our blocking forces.   Then, on election day, I wondered if anyone would come out to vote from the jungles.  I worried they would become victims of the Beast of Terror's threat, and that Fear would overpower Courage, that Intimidation would dwarf Conviction, and the Complacency would swallow the Right Actions the villagers could take to vote for the freedom of the Children's Children's Children.
       I waited as the sun rose over Highway One, the main road leading into the village.  It was the passageway the villagers must take to cast their vote.   Then they came.  Small black dots slipping out of the verdant vegetation abutting Highway One.   They came in small numbers at first, then the numbers grew.  Their black pajamas, the uniform of Vietnamese farmers, swelled until the road was full of them.   They defied the Beast of Terror to cast their vote.
       I knew then the blood of all the dead and wounded was justified.   Americans were teaching a people they had the right to freedom.   Even though we "lost" the war in Vietnam, we won that day.   The votes cast at Mo Duc and other locations in Vietnam embossed the value of all the American blood spilled in defense of ideals that critics who lambaste our presence in Iraq will never fathom. 

On this Veteran's Day, I salute the Sentinels of Vigilance who have given their lives, spilled their blood to thwart the Beast of Terror

       On this Veterans Day, I want to salute the Sentinels of Vigilance who have given their lives and spilled their blood in foreign lands--including those who offered their lives and survived.
       This includes the nearly 3,000 people who died at the World Trade Center, for their deaths are included in the tribute.   Like those who traveled to foreign soils, the people who died on Nine Eleven were just as courageous in their own right.    They gave their lives so that others might be reminded that the Beast of Terror doesn't just stalk foreign lands.

Veterans's Day is a time to remember those who are symbols of Vigilance over Terrorism

      The Beast can roost on our doorstep, haunt our children, threaten our security with as much ease as he does the people in the far reaches of the world.
      Veterans Day is a time for us to remember that America's veterans are symbols to the world that Vigilance over Terrorism is a worthy cause.  And all the blood they have spilled are tears shed in sorrow to those who refuse to salute them.




Nov 10--Are The Vultures Of Terrorism Eating The Vietnam Memorial

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