It’s a veteran thing
By Kim Swindell Wood | November 9, 2017 8:52 am
By Hansel Moore – Van Buren County
Statistically, there is a good chance that everyone reading this knows a veteran of the United States military. Whether it’s Uncle Joe, your pastor, or the nurse who took care of you in the emergency room, many of your neighbors have worn the uniform of our nation’s armed forces.
As a veteran, it never ceases to amaze me that regardless of the branch of service, or the generation served, when two veterans are in close proximity, they will most likely have something to talk about. We have all “been there.” We have shared common experiences and have come through as better individuals and citizens.
At one point in life, we took an oath to “protect and defend the constitution of the United States against enemies both foreign and domestic.” That may just seem likes words to many, but to a soldier, it is the reason we exist. There is a pride in our DNA for our country; Old Glory is more than just a colored piece of cloth, it is a symbol. It is a star-spangled banner of, sovereignty. Now, that may sound corny, but ask a veteran what the flag means to him or her. It is the reason that thousands stormed the beaches during World War II and, against all odds, defeated the tyranny that would try to erase freedom from this world. It is the reason that men and women served on foreign peninsulas divided into north and south. Korea and Vietnam were faraway lands where boys became men by donating their innocence on the hills and in the jungle of the oriental dissonance. It is the reason that men and women have endured the intense heat of the Middle East and stand against the growing world pariah who waged a war against our American way of life.
Regardless of the theater of operation, or the job title, we were all soldiers. Our individualism was forfeited at our military indoctrination ceremony. We were G.I. (Government Issue) through and through. We were one component of the strongest military in the world. We trained for air combat, desert warfare, and the mountains of Europe. We had to crawl on our bellies under barbed wire and stand in a chemical-filled room without the security of our gas mask. Why? We had to be prepared for whatever the enemy chose to send our way.
Regardless of what generation served, every soldier has made sacrifices. Almost all have had extended periods away from family, including holidays and special occasions. Many military children have been born without Daddy present. Too many warriors have returned to their families with that symbol of liberty draped over the metal coffin carrying their remains.
Your freedom has been protected by the brave women and men who have proudly worn the uniform of the Marines, Army, Coast Guard, Navy or Air Force. Their role in the mission helped secure your past, present, and future as American citizens.
On any day, but especially Veteran’s Day, if you see someone wearing a hat, jacket, or shirt that identifies them as a veteran, take a moment and say “thank you.” Teach your children and grandchildren how to appreciate these individual who are living examples of our American history.
Hansel Moore is a contributing writer to the Van Buren Eagle and Expositor and a member of the American Legion. He is the community relations liaison for the American Legion post 207 “Old Hickory” in Spencer, Tennessee. If you are a veteran and would like to learn more about the mission of the American Legion you can find more information at www.legion.org. You are also invited to attend the next American Legion meeting. You can find out more about the local post on Facebook [American Legion Post 207 – Spencer, Tennessee]. For any additional questions, contact Les Conway (Post Commander) at (931) 686-6325.