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A Heritage of Heroes
Honoring the sacrifices of California’s Veterans
[by Shawn Black] 11/11/05

As fall approaches each year, I watch in anticipation of the changing seasons and celebrations. I am reminded of how thankful I am for the abundance we have in the State of California and this great Nation. Most Americans and Californians know, appreciate and realize the sacrifices that California’s Veterans have endured for our blessings of Liberty.

Veterans throughout the history of California have answered that call because they believed in something other than themselves. They believed that Freedom and Liberty are worth fighting for, and dying for if need be. And that beacon of light and hope shines today.

Shawn Black

Shawn Black is a Military Veteran with the 82nd Airborne Division and Former Federal Agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is a Republican speaker, supporter and consultant. He recently returned from Service in Iraq and is founder .    [go to Black index]

Times have changed. Modern technology has eased the way in which California conducts business and the way our lives have been enriched by the blessings of a free and prosperous nation. In generations past, those men who fought to “form a more perfect union,” believed in the ideals of a free people and a prosperous nation. Those Americans fighting in the trenches of France believed with a fervent heart that Freedom belongs to each man and tongue as well. Those in the Ardennes and on Guadalcanal knew that nothing is more important than preserving Liberty and defeating oppression. And those who fought in Korea, Vietnam and Desert storm, realized the threats that existed yesterday will be prevalent tomorrow as well. And all understood, as do our Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, that nothing is more precious than preserving Freedom today and ensuring the hope of Liberty for tomorrow.

California’s Veterans have come from all walks of life and backgrounds. When they answered the call to service; some were immigrants, some were farmers, and many were just your ordinary boys, who, by the events set before them, were turned into extraordinary men. They came from Humboldt to Hesperia and Barstow to Santa Barbara. Our state and our Nation is the better because of them.

In today’s day and age, it is increasingly rare to find volunteers who are willing to temporary give up comforts or careers, for a diet of “Beans and bullets”. I am reminded of greatness by political leaders and those who put aside those comforts to serve. And by doing so, they became heroes.

Back then they weren’t called politicians, they were called servants – and for good reason. Presidents Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole and California’s favorite son, Ronald Reagan, showed the light of Liberty and the laurels of service. And recognizing service even on a very local level, I won’t forget that for over twenty two years, Orange County State Assemblyman Chuck Devore has served proudly and quietly, for our Nation in the California National Guard. Thank you Major Devore!

Many have asked me lately “How can I honor those who have served?” There are many siple ways to give honor. On Veterans Day and on Thanksgiving you can honor a Veteran whom you know by simply taking a minute to make a phone call, and just say “thank you for your service.” You could volunteer to place a few Flags on a Veteran’s grave. You could take a few moments to visit a Veteran in one of our many VA hospitals across the state of California. And In doing so, you’ll bring tears to their eyes and joy to their heart.

And the most important thing we can do before we shop for the latest sale item in the mall, is to place that grand old Flag on our front porch as we say a prayer for our Veterans. The Flag that conveys the dreams, Ideals and hopes of those who have died and those still preserving Freedom and the blessings of Liberty.

So on this day of remembrance and thanksgiving, I am thankful for those sacrifices by my grandfather in Normandy whom I have never met. I am reminded of freedom, by a German Jewish immigrant named “Dorothy”; with serial numbers engraved on her arm and with a beautiful smile I shall never forget. I am in awe of the power of freedom in every heart and every tongue, to instill hope not just for Americans, but for the world. And may we all point to Liberty’s Light as she shines upon the path of those who yearn for Freedom and for those who reach for her. CRO

copyright 2005 by Shawn Black




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