(Official Washington Examiner editorial, November 11, 2023)  Every Veterans Day, it may be worthwhile to take some moments to acknowledge our debt to those who have worn the U.S. uniform . It would be even better to make a longer-lasting commitment.

The commitment could come in any number of forms, ranging from attitudinal to more overt action. An entry-level commitment could involve an intellectual-emotional investment in understanding, at a deeper level, the actual experiences of veterans’ service, triumphs, and sacrifices. Just the time it takes to read one full book about service personnels’ experiences can bolster appreciation in a way that can lead to salutary action.

In that light, for POW experiences, some good ones are, for World War II , Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand; for Korea , Cold Days in Hell, by William Clark Latham Jr.; for Vietnam , When Hell Was in Session, by Jeremiah Denton; or, for a wonderful new one (published earlier this year) with a unique angle, this one about the wives and families awaiting the return of POWs, Captured by Love, by Greg Godek and Col. Lee Ellis. That last one reminds us, as it should, that the loved ones of those in uniform share in the service and merit our thanks as well.

Of course, there’s far more to service than risking and experiencing brutal captivity. For a gripping account of how the most elite of fighters become so elite , there’s Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior, by Rorke Denver with Ellis Henican. Or, for well-celebrated heroism , there’s No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden, by Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer.

And so many more. But, of course, while reading can bolster admiration for those who serve, the need exists for more concrete action on their behalf. Perhaps the action can take the form of support for legislation. For example, in the past decade, Congress has significantly expanded the ability of veterans to receive medical care in the private sector rather than only at Veterans Affairs facilities, but why not make the freedom almost absolute ? And in 2022, Congress passed the PACT Act to provide more treatment for veterans who were exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances, but why did it exclude those who served during the 1980s or at nuclear sites , and shouldn’t that oversight be fixed?…. [The full editorial is here.]


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