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To the editor:
Another Veterans Day has passed, the parades and cook-outs are but another memory. I wonder how you spent your day on Nov.11.
Each year at this time, I personally dread the duty of accompanying my husband on his hectic schedule of events, through the week of Veterans Day. Not because it is hectic - because I must witness the pain that these veterans feel over the disrespect that they encounter along the way, from a citizenry that purports to love their county and the veterans that keep them safe and free.
It takes but a minute of your time, as they march by with the American flag to remove your hat and place your hand over your heart. Most do not.
To the firemen, police, preachers and teachers - the small children are watching you, their idols, we appreciate the fact that some of you take that minute to be respectful and set an example, most do not. It is these same veterans that sponsor an “appreciation week,” for you each year.
They sponsor scholarship contests for your children. They sponsor blood drives for your sick. They sponsor food and toy drives for your needy. They work very hard to take care of their own, relieving you of the burden.
These men and women come from various veterans service organizations. They are old, tired and wounded. Many of them also march in your school parades, your holiday parades, they dedicate your flags and bury your dead, with honor. They are never too tired or busy to miss an opportunity to proudly march that flag wherever it may be called for.
Your high school JROTC and Civil Air Patrol units march on the football fields across these three counties, carrying this same Flag - some of you show the proper respect, most do not. These same young people on your field have a much greater possibility of being in the Middle East defending your freedoms and that Flag, this time next year, than the players on the gridiron. Is it too much to ask for that one minute of respect? You may not get the opportunity to see their final performance as they embark on their goal of becoming a Veteran. They also may not be carrying their next Flag, it may be folded in a triangle. If so, remember they did it for you folks with your hat on too!
The Bell High School JROTC, under the direction of Col. McGill, put on a most patriotic, authentic, moving assembly last week to honor Veterans. The Veterans in attendance had tears in their eyes, these teenagers worked very hard on this presentation. There were not even many of the parents in attendance, let alone the citizens who claim to honor our veterans. You certainly missed the chance to see the best in our youth. The same young people who are dreaming of the day when they can don the uniforms and join the military to defend you and your Flag, then hopefully become a veteran. The Bronson High School Band spent their day off from school to march in the parade, to honor Veterans Day - were it not for those participating in the parade, and a few WWII Veterans - there would not have been a celebration. You missed a chance to see an 81 year old Retired Army Col. march the entire parade with his cane and several made the trip on one leg or none. Where were all you able bodied supporters? Does some radical have to drop a missal on Wal-Mart to bring back the same patriotic spirit that we all saw in the days following 9-11, to get a few minutes of your time and respect?
Speaking of Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie, Hitchcocks, Save A Lot and the Chiefland Citizen, you have always shown your support of veterans by allowing our Poppy Drives and covering the events of the week. You are much appreciated!
Haven Hospice treated the area veterans to a wonderful breakfast and flag ceremony on Veterans Day. You are much appreciated!
Commissioners from all three counties, we appreciate your proclamations for Veterans Week. To the police who devote their time to manage parade routes, we appreciate you!
You may say, this writer is nuts, “I do respect them.”
Make no mistake of this fact, the flag of our country is the symbol most dear to the heart of any veteran.
When you fail to respect the flag - you do not respect the veterans that have fought and died for it, and it is a stab in the back of every fighting man and woman, past, present or future.
We have youth from our area that never got the chance to become a veteran - they died trying.
The children of this community deserve better examples and better education on patriotism than they are receiving.
These men and women signed a blank check for you, without regard as to whether you would give their flag, or their service that moment of respect. They deserve better from the citizens of the tri-county area, who for the most part, went shopping or fishing, and stabbed them in the back again this year.