USA observes Veterans Day with fresh appreciation by Sen Tom Daschle This year, our nation observes Veterans Day with a fresh appreciation for those who have served their country. Their sacrifice helped provide us with freedoms, rights and a sense of security � all of which seem more precious than ever in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
On that day, we suffered the heaviest casualties on American soil since the Civil War. As a consequence, we are calling now on a new generation of Americans to take up arms in behalf of liberty, justice, and the security of our homeland. Some have already laid down their lives in the fight against terrorist networks and those who harbor them.
As we observe Veterans Day, our primary purpose is to remember. We attempt to set aside our day-to-day activities and instead concentrate on the incredible deeds and sacrifices of those who have worn the uniform of their country.
This year includes several important anniversaries in the fight for freedom, such as the 50th anniversary of the fighting at Heartbreak Ridge in Korea, which is said to have been the fiercest ground combat of the war. Next month is also the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and our entry into World War II.
This year, however, it is hard to forget the present. It is likely that your day will begin and end with news of bombing missions and special forces operations in a desolate land on the other side of the globe. Some of us have a personal tie � perhaps someone who grew up in our community or a National Guard member or someone who serves at Ellsworth Air Force Base � and we think about them and the risks they will face today as they serve overseas. Our hearts go out to those individuals and their families, and we pray for their safe return.
But even as we struggle with the present, it is worth the effort to stop and remember. Many of our veterans have been through times of great personal danger and were forced to reflect on concepts like courage, country and sacrifice. Some have endured experiences that involved extreme uncertainty and risk. We can all draw inspiration from their example.
Our veterans can also play a crucial role in educating our youth. The Senate recently designated Nov. 11-17 as "National Veterans Awareness Week" and encourages schools during this time to focus on the many contributions of veterans to our society. I hope schools across our state can take advantage of this opportunity to deepen students' understanding and appreciation of their country and the people who made it possible.
I hope we can use this Veterans Day to rededicate ourselves to the creation of a permanent memorial honoring our veterans � a society worthy of their sacrifice, a society of justice, freedom, compassion and strength.