This Veterans Day

shutterstock_124786285The flags are up again.  Not as many as there are around July 4th or Memorial Day, but there are some.  The news outlets have ramped up coverage: stories abound about military families and at memorials around the country veterans groups mark this day with ceremonies, wreath-laying, and salutes.

95 years ago, on November 11th, 1918, they marked the end of the War to End All Wars.  World War I had decimated populations, brought countries to their knees, but it was finally over.

There were sadly, still more wars to follow, but we still celebrate the day that this defining war was brought to an official close.

We recognize our veterans, our friends and family members who have given of themselves for our country and for freedom.  We acknowledge veterans of all wars, those fought long ago and those that continue to affect our brave young people in uniform.

There is no greater gift a nation can be given than people giving up their very selves to fight and possibly die for their country and its values.  Those are our veterans.

Our veterans include immigrants.  Does the American public know that?  Are they aware that immigrants have fought, and are fighting and dying for our country?  That those brave souls consider our country their country and are willing to back up that commitment with the ultimate sacrifice if necessary?

Do they know that immigrants who served, veterans who hold green cards but aren’t citizens, are then still in danger of deportation, if they commit a crime?  That even if they “do the time” they may still be cast out from the United States anyway?  Pulled away from family, from their community, and kicked out, something no citizen is ever going to face?

Do they know that if an American service member falls in love and marries a foreign national, there are legal hoops galore they have to jump through, and often years of upheaval they have to face before their situation is ever resolved?

Do they know that there are potentially hundreds of thousands of people who want to join our armed services and fight for the only country they’ve ever known?  That Deferred Action is a step forward for many of them but that all too many still don’t have that option?

We know these things.

On this Veteran’s Day, please don’t stay silent. Honor veterans by sharing what you know.

by T. Douglas Stump