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OPINION

EDITORIAL Service honored with deeds

York Dispatch
The Battle of Iwo Jima was begun on February 19, 1945, and lasted until March 26, 1945. The battle claimed the lives of 6,821 Americans and 19,217 were wounded.

It was a day that would, indeed, live in infamy.

Seventy-four years ago today, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, resulted in 2,400 American casualties and marked the United States’ entrance, the following day, into World War II.

Today, our World War II veterans are in their 90s, and there are increasingly fewer of them left to be recognized for their unparalleled sacrifices.

We would like to take this opportunity to remember the heroes of all wars and conflicts – those who served in the past and those who currently serve in order to secure our freedoms, our democracy.

We can recognize those veterans not only with our words but with our deeds.

We can work together as a community to ensure that the tens of thousands of veterans returning from conflict have the financial, medical and emotional support of their communities.

And we can advocate for peace so fewer sons and daughters must sacrifice their lives.

Social services and safety nets can also help veterans and their families — and all American families — realize economic security. And economic security is the foundation of secure families. Those who don’t have to worry where the rent money, or their next meal, is coming from can focus on educational and employment opportunities.

While it is important to ensure a strong and protected nation, it is vitally important to ensure all citizens of this country who are hungry can eat. It is critical to ensure those who seek an education and the dream of a better life than that of the generation before can, in fact, have the opportunity to realize that American Dream.

We must realize that racial and socioeconomic marginalization breed contempt here and around the globe. We don’t exist in a vacuum; when pockets of humanity suffer, and feel there is no hope for a purposeful life, they have nothing to lose. Crime and acts of terror go hand-in-hand with a lack of power and hope – in American cities and in cities around the world.

By strengthening the citizens of our local and global communities, we can strengthen cities and nations. Strength and a sense of wellbeing can foster peace.

So on this 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks, this is, perhaps, the best recognition we could give to our veterans: The recognition that what they have fought for — the freedom for a better life — is not being wasted on partisan fighting at the expense of Americans and their families.

When those World War II veterans came home, they saw a post-World War II America that gave them hope for prosperity. Today’s veterans are not returning to such a hopeful place — and they are often not provided the shelter and medical treatment they have rightfully earned.

On a day that has lived in infamy, we should resolve to send as few of our sons and daughters to combat as possible. And when we must do so to protect our country and our freedoms, let’s take care not to forget them when they come home.