President's Column

President's Column

David F. Maron

Article by David F. Maron Featured Author


America will observe Veterans Day in a few days. A number of CABA members are veterans (click here to see the full list below). We owe our gratitude to them and thousands of other veterans past and present who have served and sacrificed in military service to our nation.

I do not know or care what terrorists and tyrants make of our monuments to democracy and the memorials we dedicate to our dead. What’s important is what the monuments and memorials say to us.
– General Colin Powell

This gratitude isn’t purely sentimental. Sentimentality alone can glamorize if not trivialize the sober and sacrificial reality of a veteran’s service.
A true sentiment of gratitude endures.

How? Because like a monument, Veterans’ Day is a marker, a living memorial that, like Tom Hanks’ character in Saving Private Ryan, implores a nation to “Earn this!”

Veterans and their loved ones are too often unthanked, or thanked inadequately. A busy nation lives its busy life; but veterans’ days go on long after the parades. Several years ago I stood in an airport terminal in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It was filled with soldiers and their families from Fort Bragg. As the flights were called and soldiers boarded planes, families hugged, cried, were separated. Many had children my daughter’s age.

Some veterans, like Cincinnatus, return to private life. We know them; we go to church together, they’re our neighbors, parents of our children’s friends, our fellow lawyers and judges. Yet many veterans struggle to reenter civilian life, for a variety of reasons—whether disability, unemployment, PTSD, homelessness. Whatever the circumstance, all veterans deserve our thanks. Let’s use this Veterans Day as a reminder not just to be grateful, but to show and live that gratitude every day.

I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
— Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was right. And our nation’s history, beginning with the Founders who pledged life, fortune and sacred honor, tells the stories of thousands of veterans who sacrificed and served, defended liberty, fought and freed nations from oppression, tyranny and unutterable cruelty against mankind. That history—whether or not we take the time to learn it—compels our gratitude.

Because of the courage and sacrifice of American veterans, liberty has been defended and tyrants defeated around the globe. But the World War II era history is personal to me. It illustrates that the beneficiaries of our veterans’ sacrifices go well beyond American soil: in the European Theater — Anzio, Normandy, Berlin, Bastogne and liberating Nazi concentration camps — and in the Pacific and China Burma India theaters — Midway, Guadalcanal, Airmen flying impossibly dangerous missions over the Himalayas. I am a grateful beneficiary of that service.

I have a certificate that is one of my family’s most treasured possessions: my father’s certificate of naturalization. My father, who died in 1990, was born in West Prussia in the late 1920s. The allies defeated Hitler. But not long after the celebrations of VE-Day, the carnage of war was draped by what Winston Churchill described as the descending Soviet “iron curtain.” My father and his family became DP’s — displaced persons, refugees — stuck in Soviet occupied territory. But for the American courage to stand against aggressive Soviet expansion, that’s where my father would likely have remained trapped.

The post-war service of our veterans preserved a free western Europe. Nowhere was this service more vividly displayed than in the Berlin Airlift where American servicemen flew impossible cargo missions into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin. America’s political will and military strength persevered, and the Soviets ended the blockade, their expansion halted. That stand by a war-weary America preserved a way for my father and many like him to make a new start in the USA. In 1947 he escaped from the Soviet-controlled Eastern Zone (later East Germany) to the American sector of what later became West Germany, and in 1951 completed the immigration process and came to America. My family and I will forever be grateful for the service and sacrifices that defeated tyranny and made the hope of American liberty possible for so many.

How can we begin to thank all our veterans adequately? Holidays? Monuments? As General Powell wrote, “What’s important is what the monuments and memorials say to us.” We need to think about it more often than on holidays. We need to act and live as a grateful nation.

God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.
– Daniel Webster

A war memorial inscription reads “the honor of the heroic dead is the inspiration of posterity.” What gratitude do we inspire in the next generations for those who sacrificed so much? Do they love liberty? Do they know the cost to those who defend it? Have we told them?

CABA Veterans

CABA would like to recognize members of our organization, and we are proud to count among our membership so many service men and women who are veterans of the Armed Forces. Thank you for the tremendous sacrifices you have made to defend us and our freedoms that we all too often take for granted. The CABA members listed below provided the newsletter with information about their military service.

Jackson H. Ables, III
Lieutenant, U. S. Navy

Rhesa H. Barksdale
Captain, U. S. Army

Bernard H. Booth
Lieutenant Commander, U. S. Navy

Richard Bradley
Colonel, U. S Air Force Active Reserve

Charles L. Brocato
Staff Sergeant, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve

Rusty H. Comley
Captain, U. S. Army

Thomas Crews
Captain, U. S. Air Force

Thomas W. Crockett
Lieutenant, U. S. Air Force, Colonel, U. S. Army

Toby Gammill
Captain, U. S. Army

Wayne Ferrell
Lt. Colonel, MS Air National Guard

Clarence T. Guthrie, III
Major, U. S. Marine Corps

Jerome C. Hafter
Major, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

Stephen Huwe
Captain, MS Air National Guard

Samuel W. Keyes, Jr.
Lt. Colonel, MS Air National Guard

Steven A. Kohnke
Captain, U. S. Air Force

M. Mark Majors
Lieutenant Colonel, MS Army National Guard

J. Morton Matrick
Sgt. First Class, U. S. Army

Kent McDaniel
First Lieutenant, U. S. Army

John Land McDavid
First Lieutenant, Air Force, Army (Airborne)

David W. Mockbee
Captain, U. S. Army Reserve

Alan Moore
Specialist 5th Class, U. S. Army

James W. O'Mara
Captain, U. S. Army

James Peden, Jr.
Brigadier General, MS Air National Guard

Robert H. Pedersen
Major, U. S. Army

Ben J. Piazza, Jr.
Captain, U. S. Navy

Bill Purdy
First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps

Charles P. Quarterman
Captain, U. S. Air Force

Barney E. Robinson, III
Lt. Colonel, MS Army National Guard

James H. Rosenblatt
Colonel, U. S. Army

Ermea J. Russell
Colonel, U.S. Army

Michael S. Smith, II
Sergeant, U. S. Marine Corps

Leslie H. Southwick
Lt. Colonel, MS Army National Guard

Adam J. Spicer
Information Systems Second Class, U. S. Navy

Stephen J. Stubblefield
First Lieutenant, U. S. Army

Davis Lee Davis Thames
Brigadier General, U. S. Army Reserve

David L. Trewolla
LTJG, U. S. Navy

Jeremy C. Vanderloo
Major, United States Marine Corps

Matthew T. Vitart
First Lieutenant, MS Army National Guard

William L. Waller, Jr.
Brigadier General, U. S. Army National Guard

Scott W. Welch
Captain, U. S. Air Force

Patrick S. Wooten
Major, Army National Guard