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Protecting our freedoms, keeping our promises

We have just witnessed on Nov. 6, the reason we remember Veterans Day. Abraham Lincoln said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” How true that is. While we have passed through a difficult election, we must remember that we have the right to vote through the blood and sacrifices of our veterans and those who have paid the ultimate price.

I think we must take great pride in our country’s tradition. We can look around Athol and know that our citizens past and present have made a contribution to our country’s traditions of freedom. In fact, the commonwealth has paid a high price for its contributions throughout our history.

In honoring veterans on Veterans Day, we can think about Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, Old Ironsides and the H.M.S. Guerriere, the Massachusetts 54th, the Yankee Division and now all those that have fought in Desert Storm or in Iraq or Afghanistan. My list only scratches the surface of our proud military traditions and the call to arms that our citizens have so freely given. I think you understand what Massachusetts has contributed throughout our history. There is no doubt of our resolve to continue these proud traditions and the preservation of our freedom documents.

I know it is hard to stand about and beat the drum and thump our chests when so much disconnect continues in Washington. I do think that we must take solace in the fact that what our brave men and women have done enforces the issues of free speech and of choice.

I strongly feel that no matter what political party you belong to, when there is an election, there will always be a winner or a loser. It is how we chose to honor those who fought for this right that set us apart from the vast majority of nations around the globe. It is my hope that our partisanship can be cast off and our ability to work together will again be the cadence of the march. When veterans took the oath of allegiance to fight in our military, that oath was made to only one instrument, the Constitution. We never swore an oath to a political party, to any individual or an extreme cause. We swore to defend the rights of every citizen who chose to wrap themselves in the guarantees of this document.

I think it dishonors those who have died; the disabled veteran and our active military when Washington engages in a self-serving patrician way of life. It also dishonors all veterans, their widows and children when a simple Senate rule of a “hold” prevents us from receiving a COLA. We now find that our job as veterans is not done. We must again fight for our benefits and health care. We have been in the trenches before and have succeeded. We have the resolve to let all elected officials know that their very existence to hold a public office was guaranteed by a veteran.

Veterans Day is our nation’s way of saying “thank you” to both the living and the dead. I would hope that it would remind them in the halls of Congress we are dedicated to the cause we fought for and are only asking for those covenants guaranteed when we enlisted; nothing more, nothing less.

This is how we honor veterans — having our nation keep its promise.

May those that are at rest, those disabled, those fighting at all fronts, and their widows and children embrace the importance of this day. God bless all of them and the United States of America.

Leo R. Mooney is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, NEC 1st District. He lives in Athol.

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