By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Nov 09, 2007 at 6:17 AM

This morning, while most of Milwaukee is still sleeping, I will be standing along Wells Street and probably freezing my butt off in the process.

It's not that I'm an idiot -- although I have several friends, co-workers and a significant other that would beg to differ -- it's just that I feel I'm doing my duty.

At 11 a.m., the annual Milwaukee Veteran's Day parade will step off and begin its march through Downtown. Hundreds of veterans will take part, but chances are a lesser number will show up to see them bask in well-deserved glory.

That's a pretty disappointing and somewhat disturbing reality. What's even more disturbing is the fact that a very significant majority of those showing up Saturday morning will be there in the effort to voice their opinions on the current state of affairs in Iraq, Afghanistan and with the government, in general.

Personally, I consider it a slap in the face to veterans to protest on their day of honor. While it is a Constitutional right to speak your mind, express your opinion and voice your opposition to the government, let's keep in mind that the people that are walking down the street Saturday morning made it possible for all of us -- no matter what our opinion is -- to do so.

I'm proud to say that my father is a Vietnam-era vet of the United States Marine Corps. He and I have never really discussed his experiences from that time but I am nonetheless proud to say that my father -- who came to this country as a young boy -- loved this country so much that he volunteered to serve it and fight in an incredibly unpopular war.

Like many people in this country, my Dad and I are at complete opposite ends of the political spectrum and disagree greatly on the war. He thinks it's a horrible, horrible travesty but is in full support of the men and women serving in the region.

This isn't a political rant from some insane white, Christian, urban-dwelling conservative nut-job getting on his soap box. But let's give credit where credit is due. For one day, let's put down the signs, set all of our differences aside and give the chants a rest for a few hours.

On Veterans' Day, it's not war, itself, that we pause for. Instead, it's supposed to take the time to pay honor to those who served and those who paid the ultimate price in support of our nation.

Take some time and come Downtown Saturday morning. Our vets deserve the respect and appreciation.