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E Pluribus Unum

On Veterans Day, former U.S. Army Captain and decorated veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Joe Kearns Goodwin urges citizens to honor servicemembers by working toward political consensus.

With the 2012 elections behind us, the real work of serving our nation must now take center stage, not only with those in the halls of power, but with you and me. This long campaign wasn’t about the candidates; it was about making life better for our neighbors. No matter your personal politics, I hope you engaged in last week’s election and, most importantly, I hope that you will continue to be involved in the issues that brought you into the voting booth.

While serving in the US Army, I saw up close what it means for people to put their country’s needs before their own. Soldiers in my platoon never asked, “is this mission good for me? How will I benefit from this assignment?” Right now, no matter who occupies the White House or the State House, whether you voted for that person or not, we should not ask those questions either. On Veterans Day, let us remember the true meaning of service – we should remember those who put all on the line to make sure that, “a government of, by, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”

And it is not only our veterans who understand the importance of selfless service.  We all understand - from the patrol officer on your street corner to the teacher in your child’s classroom – how much more we can accomplish in service to one nation than we can in service our own partisan interests. 

Remember why you voted and let’s work to make the changes we believe in a reality through action at the federal, state, and local level. Your voice matters to our communities and we can make improvements through our shared service to one another. This Veterans Day, let’s honor those who have so nobly served our nation in harms way by fighting for our beliefs.  But let’s also honor them by working toward consensus. 

Imagine if Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams and Madison had not been able to put aside their differences, to moderate their positions, for long enough to help draft the Constitution and guide our fledgling nation through the early days of this noble experiment called America.  If men such as them could see the value of compromise for the good of the nation, then surely men such as Obama, Boehner, Reid and McConnell can as well.

Hard-fought compromise is the bedrock of American democracy, and why so many of us chose to serve our nation in the first place. 

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SPECIAL NOTE:  For the last two years, I have had the honor of serving with my wife, Victoria, on the advisory board of The Boston Red Sox Foundation’s Home Base Program, which provides veterans with free treatment for Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. Please consider ‘following’ The Home Base Program on Facebook and Twitter or making a donation to this incredible non-profit organization today.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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