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Veterans are worthy of our praise and deserve a big 'thank you'Posted Friday, November 12, 2010, at 2:05 PM
A day after Veteran's Day 2010, let me share a few words about our military vets and the importance of carrying on the yearly programs to honor them.
Greene County is blessed with an abundance of Veteran's Day ceremonies at our schools, community sites like the courthouse, Elks Lodge and a local funeral home as well as at American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts and on the base of NSA Crane.
That's very admirable and speaks loudly that this community cares for and honors its veterans.
There could and should be more people who come and attend these ceremonies, but I understand there are work obligations and such. But if possible, it would be a fitting way of just saying thank you to a veteran.
I know Greene County has a very close affiliation with the military due in large part to our proximity and alliance to the behind-the-scene activities supporting our warfighters around the globe that are occurring every day at the U.S. Navy's third largest installation at Crane.
We as a community also have felt the pain of saying good-bye to our loved ones for extended periods of time during two recent deployments by our Indiana National Guard unit based in Linton.
We thank God that we have brave people in our community, like Guardsmen, who are willing to put their personal and family lives on hold for more than a year and travel off to some foreign war land and fight to preserve our freedoms and defend our nation.
Veteran's Day is always one of my favorites as a news reporter. I love to go and see the faces of the veterans -- some still proudly wearing their uniforms as a symbolic way of stepping back a bit to the days when their bodies were full of vigor and they were willing to step out and do something very special for their country.
We are losing our WWII vets at a sad accelerated pace and these quiet heroes who experienced unexpressed horrors in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters are real treasures.
Their faces may be creased, their shoulders bent, their gait slowed, but their handshakes are firm and their hearts still beat true for their beloved nation. You can see it in their eyes they love this country.
Thursday, I was honored to be able to chat a bit with a WWII veteran Marion Eugene Noel, who lives just north of Bloomfield. At age 94, he attended the Veteran's Day program at Bloomfield Junior-Senior High School.
As I shook his hand and said, "Thank you for your service" those five simple words seemed so inadequate, yet I could barely get them out without a choke in my throat and a tear brimming in my eye.
Too many of us take for granted what our past and current military servicemen and service women have done and continue to do for each and every one of us in war and peacetime.
Put politics aside and think about every war that was fought in by this country.
The Revolutionary War gave us our freedom from Great Britain.
The Civil War reunited a broken nation, and ended slavery in the process.
World War II stopped the evil rampage of Hitler across the world and ended Japanese hostility.
The war in Iraq took an evil dictator who was killing his own people -- and was a threat to the world in general -- out of power and we are now helping the nation stabilize.
Think about World War I, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, and Afghanistan.
Just before the program at the high school Thursday, I asked Bloomfield School Superintendent Dan Sichting why it is important to preserve programs in schools to honor our veterans.
He replied, "Many of our students don't understand self sacrifices that veterans have made ... we try to teach a lot of things in school. We try to teach patriotism. We try to teach citizenship. We try to teach moral character and this is one attempt to do that."
NJROTC Naval Science Instructor Sgt. Major Robin White, who is retired from the Marine Corps, was asked the same question and he said, "We have been involved in the Middle East for a while. I sometimes think we have gotten a little bit numb to it. We still have people overseas in harm's way. Sometimes we get in a comfort zone back here (at home) and we tend to forget."
So why should we honor our veterans? That question should never even be thought, let alone asked.
Veteran's Day continues to be observed on Nov. 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. It remains a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages...
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