On this Veterans Day, my thoughts turn to my Uncle Roger, who is a Vietnam veteran. He now spends much of his time providing military rites at the funeral of veterans and organizing events honoring veterans that emphasize the importance of good citizenship.
After graduating from college, Roger joined the Air Force in 1954 and spent 20 years in military service. In Vietnam, Roger flew the F-4 Phantom on bombing missions. He also directed bombing missions with an Army combat unit that suffered more than 80 percent casualties.
Roger is gentle man, and I have never heard him raise his voice. He is a fighter pilot who conveys a calm sense of duty. After the war, Roger was a mailman until his retirement.
This past week, my daughter interviewed Roger for one of her high school classes. When asked what was the lasting impact of the war on him, Roger replied that he was left with a strong feeling of what a great country we have. On the other hand, he feels that one of the lasting impacts of the Vietnam War on our country is our loss of idealism and the rise of narrow self-interest.
The values of my Uncle Roger - citizenship combined with duty, idealism coupled with service - transcend time, place, and politics. Whatever the future may hold for my daughter, I hope that she learns the importance of these values.
CHRIS KNOPF, NORTH OAKS
•••It's Veterans Day again. You would think that it would be a time for veterans to have a paid day off from work. The majority of them don't. I know it may seem selfish to think that one day should be set aside to benefit the many veterans who served their country.
RICK DINGWALL, ANNANDALE, MINN.
•••No matter which war they fought in and are now fighting in, thank you for being a part of keeping a world a safer place for all who are looking for freedom. You fight not in vain if an oppressed people are saved, such as the Jews in World War II. Keep the faith and go on knowing you and fellow servicemen and women did and still are making a difference in the world. I'm forever grateful in thanksgiving for each and every one of you.
MARIE WAIGHT, MINNEAPOLIS
•••In glancing through the paper, I've noticed the huge number of Veterans Day sales. Is that what this day is: Just another excuse to have a sale that has nothing to do with honoring those who paid and are still doing so, a huge price for our freedom. Look at the ads -- huge ads, but with two words missing: THANK YOU. It's not anything like when I was a child when we really "honored" our veterans with parades and events to give all the opportunity to say thanks to a vet. How sad that it has come to this, the complete numbing down of history. I say to all veterans: Thank you, and you will not be forgotten.
DENNIS MADDEN, MINNETONKA