Friday, November 10, 2006

Heroes, all

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day from its World War I inception.

Never before have Americans owed so much loyalty to, and found such pride in, their military as today.

Despite ugly partisan politics at home, hundreds of thousands of men and women have gone about the often ghastly task of fighting the Iraq War through unconscionable hardships and setbacks they never should have been asked to endure, but which they've accepted and conquered with gallantry and self-reliance.

American soldiers weren't trained for urban warfare or to act as civil peacekeepers in Iraq. They didn't expect to be inadequately armored or supplied at the outset. They and their families weren't told they'd be rotated in and out of Iraq duty as many as three times and their enlistment contracts summarily canceled. And they surely weren't prepared for fighting fanatics from ambush whose ranks expand daily as Iraqi hostility to the American presence increases.

Those are enormous burdens for U.S. troops, and they demand special thanks today from Americans.

Some 25 million living Americans are veterans of wartime and peacetime uniformed service. Their ranks dwindle every day, however, as older vets from previous wars die in obscurity.

The finest tribute Americans can pay today is to demand that service men and women are always adequately trained and supplied for risky and complex assignments. We must ensure that their families are amply cared for and honored for their sacrifices and that veterans' benefits are never compromised.

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