Why is the Veteran Important? By Adeline Oliver

Voice of Democracy speech contestants share their perspective


SHS junior Adeline Oliver participated in the VFW Voice of Democracy speech contest

Adeline Oliver, Contributing Writer

America was founded on the principles of freedom, democracy, and liberty. When our country yearned for peace, there were ordinary yet extraordinary men and women who understood the price of freedom, heard the call for action, and stood up to the challenge, sacrificing everything to protect our country as well as our values. Veterans provoke thoughts of service, honor, courage, and patriotism; they are the spirit of American independence and democracy. Their service is what has caused our great nation to thrive today with their unrelenting bravery and dedication to the country, and we are forever grateful for the inspiring example that they set for each and every one of us. The depth of selflessness, commitment, and dedication veterans possess for our country will never be forgotten.

Veterans have endured and survived so many challenges that it is difficult to fathom. They have braved through dangers and hardships; many of them have come in direct contact with the tragic reality of war and death. We, as civilians, must never forget the true cost of war and the veterans who shoulder that burden, not just with the visible wounds that may have been inflicted while wearing the uniform but also by the invisible wounds and traumas that veterans endure for decades after returning home. They did this not for recognition or praise or even the honor we bestow upon them. Rather, they have gone through all of these deprivations for us; for America — to defend, protect, and serve American values as well as the Constitution. They placed their lives and ambitions on hold, willing to sacrifice everything if need be, so that we, in turn, would be able to dream without fear. They counted our lives as more important than theirs, in the hopes of standing for something greater. For that, we greatly honor the veterans who stepped forward and answered the call to defend this nation at home and abroad.

Even after returning home, many veterans demonstrate the same sense of duty and service as they did during their service in the armed forces. For many, service doesn’t end when the uniforms are laid down: service is a lifelong calling. We recognize their contributions to the country long after they returned home, leading a civilian life. Many choose to live a normal life, trading a badge and a uniform for the responsibilities of another: doctors, engineers, teachers, mothers, and fathers. Their stories truly inspire us. 

Many people understand that pledging a life to protect America from enemies is not a light endeavor for someone to undergo. When we remember veterans, we must remember and recognize the immense debt that is owed to them–a debt that may very well be impossible to fully repay but one that is essential for us to never forget.

We must remember what each veteran was willing to put on the line for us: their willingness to serve and sacrifice everything for our freedom and prosperity. We must remember who has fought for our rights. In the end, it was the veterans who championed for Americans to obtain freedom of the press, the freedom of speech, and the freedom to demonstrate as well as to protest. It was the veteran who ensured that liberty, democracy, and justice exist and prevail.