Published: 9/13/2012 4:18:03 PM
Be thankful for our veterans
I usually don’t get upset about many things, I don’t. But at a recent military event, I got upset. This requires sort of a back-story, so I’ll continue.
In June, I headed to Normandy, France to participate in the 68th D-Day commemorative events. Everywhere I turned, there was a servicemember in uniform shaking the wrinkled, old hand of a World War II veteran. I found this to be amazing. I mean, these heroes aren’t going to be around much longer and they took it upon themselves to travel thousands of miles to return to where their darkest nightmares exist — on the beaches of Omaha and Utah, the fields of La Fierre, and the city of Sainte Meire. Not to mention, God only knows where, in Europe World War II was fought. Today’s servicemen and women were thanking the men and women of yesterday — for their heroism, for their courage and for our country. I was proud to be an American.
Flash forward to the present. I recently covered a military event and among the guests was a lone, World War II veteran. He proudly wore his World War II/Korean War hat, showcasing his Purple Heart Medal and few other ribbons and badges he had earned. He also wore a polo shirt with his old unit’s patch embroidered on his left breast. I watched as he silently sat in the back row of the event and I watched as he spoke and joked with a few friends. And then I watched him walk past numerous Soldiers in uniform standing around. Not one Soldier acknowledged him. No one smiled at him, talked to him or shook his hand. Not one.
I followed him from the event and happened to be parked right next to him. I smiled at him, walked up to him, and said, “Sir, I just wanted to thank you for your service.” He smiled right back at me, took my hand, shook it and then gave me the biggest, warmest hug I had ever had from a complete stranger. He thanked me and we both went on our separate ways.
What was so different from Normandy to here at Fort Bragg? Why in Normandy did so many servicemembers thank our veterans, when no one thanked this gentleman at this military event on our own soil? This wasn’t some community event that didn’t involve military members; this was a military event on Fort Bragg. Our war veterans need to be recognized. Our war veterans need to be thanked. World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom veterans, they all need to be thanked.
Our servicemembers who’ve never seen the front lines, they need to be thanked. Our servicemembers who served in peacetime, they need to be thanked. We should all be thankful for the men and women who serve in our country’s military.
It’s an all-volunteer Army now, but it wasn’t always. Some were told to fight and some asked to fight — either way, they fought for our country.
Thank them for their service.
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