The older I get the more important Veterans Day becomes. A couple of things really grate on me when it comes to veterans and politicians. First, I have watched politicians parade veterans in front of City council meetings and political rallies and forums solely for their own political benefit. Another thing is how at City Council meetings each meeting begins with a prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. In the same meeting you may witness an all male council bully and berate a female Mayor or to deny Free Speech to citizens of their community.

We are all ready to raise the flag several times a year in remembrance and respect for our country and flag, and pledge allegiance to the United States. We are guaranteed Constitutions Rights, that we too often assume elected officials will defend, not offend.

We, the citizens, have the responsibility to defend our rights and demand elected officials respect those rights, regardless of political party. We have a right to question, and expect an answer, of elected officials without having our rights threatened, denied or silenced.

Veterans Day is a day I think of friends, and my first cousin Freddie, who gave their lives in Vietnam. It is a day when I become energized to fight political corruption and hypocritical self serving politicians. It is a day when I recognize my rights come with responsibilities that include challenging the status quo.

Veterans Day is a reminder of lives lost for our freedom and should be a reminder of our responsibility, every one of us, to defend those Constitutional rights by exercising the right of Free speech.

I salute all Veterans of all wars and pledge never to forget your sacrifice.