Active-duty military members will often correct people who wish them a happy Veterans Day — but don’t worry, they’re not being rude. They do it because this day is not for them. It’s for those who have served before them and honors the purpose for which they served.

It may not be apparent to the more than 90 percent of Americans who haven’t donned a uniform, but the purpose of our service is more important than the act of service itself. That purpose is you, the 90 percent.

We served so that the American people can live free lives and pursue happiness. We served to keep our country secure and strong; to preserve and protect the Constitution and the principles it stands for. We served with honor, courage and commitment so that the next generation of military men and women can take up the mantle.

So, I was heartened when, just days before Veterans Day, our state Legislature voted to establish Nov. 7 as a day to honor the victims of communism, many of whom were indeed our veterans. But I was dismayed to learn that 30 state legislators had voted against Rep. Cris Dush’s resolution.

For much of the 20th century, American veterans made their sacrifices to defeat communism — the antithesis of the ideas upon which our nation is established. Across the world, hundreds of millions of people were captive to this ruthless ideology as its proponents forced tyrannical egalitarianism on every nation they subjugated.

Brave Americans put on a uniform and went off to fight and die in Southeast Asian jungles, the hills of Korea, and even the frozen wastes near the North Pole. They did it to keep the rest of us and our allies from adding to communism’s body count.

As communism spread, life, liberty, free expression, freedom of religion, property rights and nearly every civil right we care about were snuffed out. And in the hasty attempt to bring about “equality by revolution,” an estimated 100 million people no different than you and I were murdered for standing in the way or for exemplifying characteristics of inequality as mundane as having an education.

There can be honest debates about foreign policy and specific military interventions — from Vietnam to Venezuela — but everyone should be thankful that veterans protected our way of life from communism’s spread.

Brave Americans put on a uniform and went off to fight and die in Southeast Asian jungles, the hills of Korea, and even the frozen wastes near the North Pole. They did it to keep the rest of us and our allies from adding to communism’s body count.

Surely this sacrifice should rise above our everyday political squabbles and ideological virtue signaling.

But for 30 state representatives — who have benefitted from our veterans’ sacrifices — that wasn’t the case. And that makes my heart sink.

Grandstanding and posturing for each of the extreme ends of the ideological spectrum may be the bread and butter of current American politics. It surely seems politicians spend more time one-upping each other on TV and voting against transparently good legislation out of mere partisan spite than having honest conversations on important matters. But when it comes to honoring our veterans, who fought and died defending us from a deadly ideology, and the countless millions who could not be saved, can’t we put posturing on pause?

We can all learn from the divisiveness around the victims of communism resolution. This is an opportunity to reflect on our positions and commit to approaching issues fundamental to who we are with the respect and decency they deserve. Especially when it comes to the purpose for which our veterans fought and died.

Michael Torres is a former active-duty lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and a senior communications officer for the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania’s free market think tank. @MindofTorres The Commonwealth Foundation is a sponsor of Broad + Liberty.

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