Mayor Bradley reminds us all of our freedoms during his Veterans Day message

RANDOLPH — We are pausing this day to honor our brave fighting men and women who, for more than 240 years, have underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor and selfless service.

We recognize that all our veterans have given something of themselves to this country and some have given all — laying down their lives to defend the freedoms we hold so dear.

We must never forget that we can’t celebrate the joy of our freedom without remembering the great price paid for that freedom.

I don’t know how many of you watched the Ken Burns documentary on World War II, but I would recommend that you watch the entire series.

There was one scene, however, that caught my attention. Ken Burns was interviewing an American soldier who in 1944 was guarding a group of German POWs somewhere in Europe. The POW, who spoke almost flawless English, asked the American where he was from. The American answered that he was from the mid-New England states. The German POW, to the astonishment of the American, named some towns and villages that were well known to the American. He then asked the POW how, after never having visited the U.S., he was so familiar with the geography of the area. His answer sent some chills down the American’s spine: he said they were planning to invade the East Coast of the United States, and they were required to familiarize themselves with every aspect of the United States — from the language, to the culture, to the names and locations of every town and village.

It didn’t surprise me that Nazi Germany planned to invade the United States, I just never realized that they were so meticulous in planning. It brought the war much closer to home.

For those soldiers, like that American, who have stood guard in war time, and to those who have seen the horrors of battle, and to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, I say that they were there for America, defending the Constitution of the United States.

While we pay homage to all American veterans, I particularly want to thank our the Vietnam veterans. I have a personal reason for doing this, for my own dear brother was a casualty in that war. They served in a war that deeply divided our nation, but America is resilient — we are a nation of temperance, compassion and reason. And with the passage of time we heal all our wounds.

In closing, I would like to ask each and every one a small favor — if you see or know a veteran, walk up to him or her and simply say ‘thank you for your service.’

Especially our newest veterans — those who have served or who are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I guarantee they will appreciate it a lot.

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