<%image(20050531-salute.jpg|100|150|salute)%> Watching the veterans walk down the streets of Doylestown lined with spectators for veteran’s day I was overcome with emotion. After the marching band made its journey down the street with there glitz and catchy tunes, a small group of ordinary looking men walked up as if strolling in the park. They all had some form of identification. Any applause that had been given to previous groups was now eclipsed by the cheers and clapping that welcomed these men. The moment snuck up on me and overcame me like a wave that smacks you when surfacing for air.

Having read about the horrors of war and the extreme conditions that are afflicted upon men, I was overwhelmed by their sacrifice, their risk. They let hold of their right to have this moment celebrating their service. No doubt the memory of fallen friends were fresh on their minds. We saluted them as heroes, gratefully cheering as we should. Yet they surely were thinking of their fallen friends, thinking as every veteran that the real heroes are the ones who didn’t come back. In any case, it was tremendous to cheer on these men and to honor them. They are the rough men who stand ready to do the dirty work while I rest my head, eat meals, sit on my couch, go to the park . . .

Retreating to the Bagel Barrell I tried to compose myself. The tears were fighting to come out. I couldn’t bear the thought of crying while these 10 men strolled by and so many people just hung out all around me (even some quirky guy in a Canada hat!). The tears were dammed up, but my gratitude is not. While I’m not proud of all that America does, I was extremely proud to be a part of a day that salutes men and women who have sacrificed their futures and ambitions to do the rough work of freedom. I only pray that our government will not call upon our soldiers in the future unless there is a legimate threat to our country.