On Veterans Day, we honor the young men and women who have stepped to the plate in war and peace to defend the freedom we enjoy.
In World War II, we fought with our allies against the Germans. In 1939, we had not yet entered the war. That year, England stood alone.
One of the reporters we sent over to cover the war was a young Ben Robertson. Being in London experiencing nightly German bombing, he struggled with a good deal of fear. One day he stood with his friend Edward R. Morrow on the White Cliffs of Dover. They stood in awe watching the RAF flyers battling in the skies with the German aces. Those RAF flyers were all the protected England from German invasion.
As he stood above the channel watching the drama above, he had an epiphany of sorts. He later wrote, "I lost my sense of personal fear because I saw what happened to me didn't matter. We counted as individuals only as we took our place in the procession of history. What counted was what we stood for. And I know now for what I was standing - I was for freedom. We were in America where we were and had what we had because a whole line of our people had been willing to die. I understood Valley Forge and Gettysburg at Dover and I found it lifted a tremendous weight off my spirit. I don't see now why I ever again should be afraid."
Tragically, Ben Robertson lost is life in 1944 in a plane crash over the channel. But reading Robertson's account reminds me of all the men and women in the military who have protected us since Valley Forge.
Whether they serve in peace time or war, they all deserve our respect and gratitude. For all our military members past and present, thank you for your service.
Helen Potter Taylor