This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
Today we mark Veterans Day by pondering the great sacrifices men and women of the armed forces have made to preserve and perpetuate the freedoms we enjoy.
A few weeks ago I read a headline that sadly told of the nearly 4,200 American service members who have perished thus far in the war in Iraq. Many more have been wounded, and thousands have spent precious time away from families, friends and vocations. Today, we salute these and all veterans who have generously given so much for this country.
I love to see the American flag waving proudly as a representation of our freedom. It speaks in symbols, but could it speak in words, I believe it would say something like this: "I stand for a dream that is creating a new world, bursting the shackles of slaves and lifting all humanity to a higher plane of more abundant living. I stand for an experiment in the laboratory of life that has exploded old theories of government and set men free. I have kindled and kept burning in the hearts of men the fires of liberty, unity and justice. Veterans have lived and toiled and died to keep alive the ideals I symbolize. A great host of heroes have kept me gallantly flying in the face of every threat and challenge to the democratic way of life.
My red stripes represent blood spilled in Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Bataan, Baghdad and other battles. Glowing light penetrating the blackest night shines through in my white stripes, which in the nation's darkest hour, still radiate eternal hope. You see the infinity of the heavens in my stars, inspiring mankind to continue climbing courageously up the staircase of history. I am the emblem of man's finest dreams. I am the American flag."
Serving under such a flag, our veterans have made their country's honor their own and cherish it as sacred. They have risked their lives in its defense and understand that they gain protection while sharing it with others. I join my fellow Americans in thanking the veterans of this great nation.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.