The parades are over.
Most of the flags still fly in cemeteries and at homes. On buildings that house the various Veterans Service Organizations, the American and service flags fly all year round, often accompanied by a prisoner-of-war/missing-in-action flag for our brothers and sisters still missing. Inside these buildings a table stands. It’s important that we understand why.
The table is round, to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.
The cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.
The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the lives of these Americans and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith while seeking answers.
The red ribbon symbolizes our continued determination to account for our missing.
A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate; captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.
The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return, alive or dead.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
The glass is inverted, symbolizing their inability to share a toast.
The chair is empty, to remind us of the seat that remains unclaimed at the table.
The American citizen
Many, if not most Americans who demonstrated post-Vietnam War against the service members who did their duty, have since reversed their view of veterans. Many have taken action to help out of honest recognition of veterans’ issues, or out of guilt over having attacked soldiers and veterans. Whatever the reason, the actions that we see across America from the cities to the rural villages are proof that most Americans now understand and value those who raised their right hands and wrote a blank check to this nation.
Led by veterans and concerned citizens, many Americans work daily to keep President Abraham Lincoln’s charge in his second inaugural address in 1865: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
President Lincoln was speaking then to a crowd with a charge to the nation and its people, not a specific organization. It was a message of healing the wounds of war.
In the 156 years and often tumultuous times of our nation’s history since Lincoln’s words, the military has been a bright light of advancement. If not apparent as it happened, in retrospect and through the lens of history we see the evolution of one body made of different branches that helped alter a nation’s course for the better.
This cannot be ignored, but the story can be rewritten and the alteration of the past, bad and good, can help destroy continued advancement into the future. Today the military is besieged by those who would change it. The importance of these attempts is not about the military alone. It is an assault on America and our way of life.
Those who mean it when they say they “support veterans” go back to work on the issues that matter to veterans. The politicians who only show up for the parades, and the ones who don’t, continue with their fakery.
The activists in and out of the military
Those who would change military to fit some woke leftist culture will also be the victims of a weaker nation. We have enemies abroad and some within the country. It’s a simple question for anyone reading this: Is what you are doing to change the military, any branch or special operations group improving the effectiveness of the unit to carry out its mission when needed?
Acta non verba … Deeds, not words
Some will ask, what you have done? Here’s my answer. I have sat on boards of charities, a commission, driven the High Five Tour, actively raised money and more for decades. I still do and will as long as I am able. I recently helped create a national company named Veteran Services USA to help veterans with housing, home and community-based services and vocational education and training.
In all of this I have learned and had reinforced for me a key element. Not one of us can do this alone. It takes a team, and to use the military term, a unit. You don’t need to have a national platform on radio and television. So many started with an idea, put in the sweat equity and delivered, if only for one veteran or a few.
What have you done? What are you going to do after reading this?
Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, a Fox Nation host, Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.