Monuments of Stone and Flesh

A Veteran’s Day tribute to those who served.

As a society we build statues and monuments to honor men of great achievement to show our gratitude for hard-fought battles won with great loss. We put one’s bravery, valor and patriotism up on a pedestal so we can point up and tell our children “this is what you must be.” This is justifiable because these men and women have earned their place on that pedestal, but as people, we also need to recognize all of the things that make us human.  It isn’t just strength and courage or the level of hardship we can endure, but the entire being. Human attributes seen as weaknesses are often ignored and discounted, but are just as important to recognize for a society to raise the next generation. Traits such as weakness, hopelessness, despair, confusion, and pain are all parts of our Human Condition innate in all of us. Further, examples of evil such as greed, treachery, treason, and deceit are ever present temptations that must and can be overcome.  Without these opposing attributes, strength, courage, valor, and honor would not be so impressive or something to marvel at.

This is why the monuments made of flesh are so important. These men and women walk amongst us and provide contemporary examples of what we want our children to admire. They are not historical figments of a bygone era, but here and now testaments to all that is virtuous. They represent the triumph of good over evil by common people. Unfortunately, many children will know hurt, sorrow, pain, and suffering well before they will understand where courage, strength, and bravery come from. Our youth need the example of our brave men and women of our military to show them that they too can surmount the challenges of life.  The youth need their positive examples to teach them that you can push past all of the bad and overcome adversity. One need to be enshrined in stone to achieve greatness.

So on this Veterans Day, as a father, I want to say thank you to all of those Monuments of Flesh. They are living monuments of the triumph of humanity with all of the strengths and weakness that all men have. Their ability to rise over the character imperfections that afflict each and every one of us is what makes their service so admirable. I thank you all for inspiring the next generation to be great men and women by your living examples. I hope and pray that you understand why you are still so valuable…still so important…and still so vital to this country and a society as a whole.

A Grateful Father

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