It would not have happened if not for our veterans

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. O. G. Mannon
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
This past Tuesday, nearly 120 million Americans went to the polls to choose our next president. In the midst of war and serious economic challenges, Americans voted for new leadership and elected the first-ever African-American president. It was a historic election that will rightly be talked about and analyzed for weeks, months and years to come. 

Whatever your opinions on Tuesday's outcome, one thing is certainly true. As with every other election in U.S. history, it would not have happened at all if not for our veterans. 

They represent every race, creed, ethnic background and social status - a reflection of 
the country they serve. They are ordinary people who each made an extraordinary choice - to willingly risk their own comfort and safety for something greater than themselves. Most served quietly, their individual acts of courage and sacrifice unknown and unheralded by their fellow citizens. 

Of the 120 million who voted last Tuesday, only a relative few have military experience. Less than a half of percent of Americans currently serve in uniform. Less than 10 percent has ever served, and that number will get smaller as the great veterans of World War II and Korea pass on. 

Though few in number, servicemembers and veterans continue to hold a place of honor among their fellow citizens. The military is the most trusted institution in the nation, and has been for 20 years - more trusted than the medical system, schools, churches, the presidency, the Congress and the police, according to national polls. 

And that is as it should be. While Americans may disagree about many things, we can agree on this: 

The freedoms we exercised last Tuesday were made possible by the people we will honor next Tuesday. 

Happy Veterans Day to all who serve now, and who have served in the past. Thank you for your courage and sacrifice. It is an honor to be numbered among you.