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[WHY VETERANS ARE SPECIAL 1 The biggest sacrifices veterans have made for their country do not just happen on the battlefield. They happen quietly, without fanfare, without recognition. They happen in small homes and living rooms, with only those left behind as witnesses. Everything a veteran must do is a sacrifice, from leaving behind their lives, to stepping onto the battlefield. The sacrifice of time is just as important as the bravery shown in war, and oftentimes much more difficult. These sacrifices are what make veterans special. Veterans became veterans because they possessed the honor, bravery, and patriotism that they needed to stand up for their country. These men and women represent everything that we, as a nation, fight to protect, everything we value in life. Our honor, our liberty, our livelihood, lies with them. Our nation's veterans pledge their lives to our defense, so that, in their absence, we can continue to live in freedom, and enjoy our time in life. Veterans are separate from our everyday struggles. They represent our country as a whole, people of every belief coming together and standing strong. They do not pledge themselves to us simply because it is their duty. They have a deep-seated belief that this country is worth fighting for, and they volunteer to be the ones to step forward in its protection. The patriotism in their hearts is what allows everyday life to continue unimpeded; it is how they advance and do what they must for the good of the country as a whole, not just what they would want themselves. The veterans in our country show the most valued trait in civic virtue; selflessness, the ability to put their entire country before themselves as individuals. Veterans devote their entire lives to the improvement of society, in the hope that we do I WHY VETERANS ARE SPECIALI ..- not befall the same mistakes as those before us. Veterans are those who have volunteered themselves for their country, they are the people we salute every day, the men and women we respect in the highest honor. America's veterans choose their path knowing the difficulties it will hold, knowing the sacrifices they will be required to make, fully aware that they may never return, but safe in the knowledge that they are supported by their country. Our veterans are special because they alone understand the true cost of freedom, and are willing to pay that price so that our posterity may enjoy the benefits of that freedom, and so our country can continue its legacy far beyond our imaginings. Marilise Stamps Extraordinary Veterans What makes veterans extraordinary is how ordinary they appear to be. Veterans might be somebody's uncle, mother, daughter or brother. A veteran may be a father that teaches his son how to fix his car. A veteran couid be a child's grandfather who turns down his hearing aid when he doesn't want to listen to his wife. What you don't realize is that the father's mechanical skills come from repairing a ship's engine for 25 hours straight during the Korean War, and the grandfather lost his hearing from artillery fire in World War I. The quiet, ordinary lives of veterans belie their courage and sacrifices they made for this country. Not a lot of people could pick a veteran out from a crowd. They don't walk around decked out in medals, or brag about what they have experienced. You can't see what they've seen, or know what they know. All of this seems to be locked in a vault somewhere inside of them, and no one is allowed to see. How, then, are we supposed to distinguish these veterans from ordinary people? How are we supposed to honor them for what they've accomplished for our country through courage and valor? Can it be that veterans don't expect us to recognize them for what they've done? Veterans could just be exceptional people who don't seek exceptional treatment. Look around you. Look for that ordinary individual that may not be so ordinary. Look for that person who doesn't stand out in a crowd but deserves to. Look for that selfless individual who gave more than most of us dream of giving. Recognize that person who didn't seek recognition. You never know, that mother, father, daughter, brother, or grandfather may be a veteran, and veterans are extraordinary no matter how ordinary they appear to be. i Whv are Veterans Special? Doc Hastings once said, "We owe our World War i! veterans - and all our veterans - a debt we can never fully repay." But why is this? Why do we owe people that we don't even know? Could the reason be because of the sacrifices they made or the bravery they showed? Could it be for the tough times they have gone through and still have to go through? Maybe we owe our veterans for a much simpler reason. Maybe we owe them for not being extra ordinary, but for being extraordinary. Maybe we owe veterans simply for being special. Many people ask why others risk their lives. Countless stories have been told about people losing not just their lives, but their limbs, identity, and even their mental abilities. The question is, therefore, why risk even the chance of this happening? Why not let others fight while you just sit back and watch? Many people choose to sit back, but what makes veterans special is that they chose to go into action. Some might have enlisted because of the influence of family; others, because they felt that they had to protect themselves or their loved ones. Some veterans chose to enlist in the armed services because they felt patriotic. There are many reasons why veterans have chosen to join the military, but that doesn't mean any reason is less special than the others. Anytime anyone risks losing themselves for the purpose of the greater good, it is special. Veterans have done this time and time again in their lives. This continuous act results in changing others' lives. Country artist Keith Urban wrote a song saying, "1 would give my life... I would make that sacrifice. Cause if it came down to it, could I take the bullet, yes i would. For you." Many people don't have the type of bravery to take a bullet for another person or group of people. Imagine strapping on boots that you know could be torn right off your feet. Imagine jumping out of an airplane behind enemy lines. Imagine living on a US aircraft carrier fearing the threat of underwater mines every day. Think of the bravery it would take to be in any of those scenarios. Many veterans have their own memories like that. Many veterans are brave and return home to tell the tale... but countless stories tell of veterans who are brave that don't make it back home. Veterans have that rare bravery, and that's what makes them set apart from the rest. So why do we owe these people? Do we owe them for protecting our freedoms, or risking their lives for us and our country? Do we owe them for the great number of sacrifices they have made in their lives, or for their rare bravery which they possess? Maybe we owe veterans for not being ordinary. We owe them for being extraordinary. Or maybe we owe veterans for just a much simpler reason— we owe veterans because they are special. Peace from Sacrifice Ethan Forte War makes a great plot for book or movie, but few people have actually had to go through the pain, and suffering that it can bring upon a human being. Whether it is a medic having to tend to a body that has been mutilated and broken, or a solider watching a fellow comrade die in battle, to suffering an injury themselves, veterans have endured. When people are active in the military, they are usually away from family and friends. While they are fighting across seas, in distant countries, risking their lives for their own country, the majority of American citizens are enjoying the peace that comes from their sacrifice. America has not seen war in its own country since the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy. We have been kept safe from outside threats because of the veterans who have served in our country. If not for them we may not be living in the free, independent, first world we find ourselves in today. Veterans have endured, and sacrificed. Terrorists and other threats have opposed our country time and again, but because of the veterans we are safe. Veterans have fought for us and kept our country free and because of them we are free. Veterans have sacrificed their time, their welibeing, and even their lives. We remember, honor, and respect veterans for all that they have done for their country and will always hold a special place in our hearts. Without veterans who have fought for those around them, America would not be the same. Julia Schaller America Is Beautiful Not too long ago I visited the Veteran's Hospital to deliver thank you cards to the veterans. As I walked down the halls of the hospital, it all came to life in front of me. There I was, standing on the battlefield or crawling through a ditch dodging death and trying to drown out the noise of gunfire with thoughts of home. Coming back to reality, I turned the corner with some of my peers as the nurse led us down another hallway. This time, more of the rooms were open so we could go in and say hello and drop off some cards of appreciation to the veterans. As I walked into the door, I was a little nervous. I don't have the best time talking to people I don't know, I've always been that way. But as I started up conversation with a veteran, it became easy. And when it came to giving the thank you cards and moving on to the next room, I was genuine. We all are. Just being in the same room as a veteran was a complete honor. Every room told a different story. Each veteran was honorable in their own way. All veterans are, regardless of their circumstances. Being there and writing cards to the veterans made me realize how incredibly important they are to our country. Veterans have risked their lives to fight for our country. They fought for peace and justice, and devoting your live to fight for the peace and justice of others is something huge worth honoring. Veterans everywhere, even at the hospitals, should walk with pride and glory, knowing what they've done. Knowing they've changed the lives of millions. One man's work can save thousands. This got me to thinking that people should do this every day. Veterans should get nationally more recognition, especially through schools. Our nation takes much pride in our veterans, and loves them very much, but even more could be done. Even if it's just taking time out of your day to write them letters to be delivered. Veterans deserve the utmost respect, appreciation, acknowledgment, and glory. America Is Beautiful After spending years of their life dedicated to us as citizens, we as citizens should pay it back to them by giving them what they deserve. America is beautiful, and our veterans had a huge impact on making America beautiful. Cole Gallagher Courageous for our Freedom "The secret of freedom is courage." This apt quote by Thucydides is to me the essence of freedom. And the ones courageous enough to have fought for my freedom are veterans. War demands a special kind of courage, both physical and moral. You see willingness to risk life and limb, and strength to endure hardships with admirable determination. The cost of my freedom was high, but it is my honor to be able to thank a veteran for their service in protecting my freedom. Veterans impact us everywhere in our daily lives. Both of my parents are veterans, and I normally see at least one person with a veteran's patch on at the grocery store. So, as you can see, veterans are everyday people dispersed throughout our lives. They are not some person that nobody knows; they are our family members, our friends, our coworkers. These courageous people are very real in our lives, and it takes unwavering loyalty to ones country to leave behind family, life, and home to serve in protecting our freedom. Freedom is a precious gift. It takes the courage and sacrifice of thousands to attain, and many more to keep. I cannot imagine what hardships veterans had to endure, but it is with gratefulness that I can stand here today as a free person, living in such a way that I can bring honor to those who have sacrificed so much for me. It takes a very special kind of person to be a veteran, so honor our veterans for what they have done and who they are. Veterans Essay Elizabeth Clapp Rockbridge High School Teacher; Jennifer Cone Class of 2013 1705 Stanford Drive 65203 Columbia Missouri Your loved ones are always just a phone call away. Every night you sleep in a warm bed with all your comforts of home surrounding you. Then the next day you go to work and watch the clock till it's time to leave. You complain about the small things, people you don't like, something that didn't go your way, the waitress hasn't brought your food fast enough, or there's a bug on your windshield. In truth all of your problems are as small as that bug. We live in a nation forged from freedom and we owe our lives to the people who bled and died for this pure land. We are all connected, a quote from Common Since by Thomas Paine says, "It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home countries and the back, the rich and the poor will suffer and rejoice alike." Materialistic ideas rule our lives but "it's our dearness only that gives everything its value." Our values in life have shifted and we need to take some time to appreciate what is really dear. Objects don't last forever but freedom will always be there, same as relationships for they hold steadfast from our lifetime into the next. Be thankful for everything that you have, because if it weren't for the many veterans who have lived and died fighting for us, you would have nothing. They are the sole foundation that holds us together and they will be there time and time again to preserve our freedom. Forever and Always Ashley Rippeto Rockbridge High School Becky Rippeto 12730 S. Rippeto Rd, 65203 573-657-0147 He missed them so much; their light, their smiles, their ways. His wife and his little boy, Dylan, oh how they grieved in his heart. He wanted to go home now. He didn't want to wait any longer; but then again he couldn't complain, it would only be 2 more days till his four years were up and he could rightfully go home. He reflected on the Vietnam War. What a terrible war it had been. So much blood and tears and pain. His wife had said people change in war, for this is why she never wanted him to leave; but he felt obligated. He knew he had to. Like a dog should come to the whistle of its owner, he must obey his country's call. She begged him not to leave; for her; for their at the time 8 year old son, he would be 12 in a month and 9 days. The thought of missing his past birthdays sickened him. His son did not want him to go, but he never did beg. He simply said, "Goodbye, Daddy. I love you." His sons words echoed in his head, my oh my how he needed to be home. Today was the day. His four years rang done. He was already on a plane, on his way back to Missouri. He missed his home-town too. Columbia didn't have a lot to offer, but his family did. He could smell the vast un-desired Missouri atmosphere already. He had a 20 hour flight. He didn't want to wait on this crowded plain any longer. He wanted to hold his wife and provide for her like he was supposed to. He wanted to embrace his son; and to see the man he was growing up to be. The only communication he had with his family was letters his wife had written to him and him replying back as quickly as possible. The last letter he sent was about 2 months ago. He guessed it failed to reach her; for she usually responded three weeks after his letters. Why did she not answer? These ideas drowned his thoughts and worried him, but he tried to keep them out of his mind. He was going home! Before he could take the first step into his familiar driveway, the door that played its familiar squeaking-tune slammed open. Out ran his little boy. "Daddy!" he cried. All he knew in that moment was the feeling of his son's warm embrace. He stroked his hair as he whispered gentle I miss you's. He looked up at the door once again to see his wife. He ran to her. They kissed each other passionately, and he decided right then that he could never leave again. He looked into the eyes of his family gently, and murmured, "For our family is forever and always, and I will always love you both. I will never leave again."
"What Does Veterans Day Mean To You?"
Gwynn Janelle Horning, Age 11, Reinholds
Why Veterans Day Is Important To Me
Veterans Day is important to me. There are a few reasons why Veterans Day is important. Here are a few reasons why Veterans Day is important to me.
First of all, Veterans Day is important to me because my neighbor, Jim Stamm, was in the army. I realized from him that the Army is really important. I remember that in first grade we made cards for Veterans. Most of the kids in the class gave it to the janitor who also was in the army, but I gave it to my neighbor. The smile on his face told me everything. I think people don’t realize how important Veterans really are. This is one reason why Veterans Day is important to me.
Another reason that Veterans Day is important to me is because Veterans fought for our country and that is the reason we have a free country. I think it is good to have a free country. It is better than a dictatorship. I’m glad that we don’t have a dictatorship because then we wouldn’t be able to voice our opinion. The reason for that is because of the army. That is another reason why Veterans Day is important to me.
Last but not least, I believe that Veterans are very underappreciated. So Veterans Day is a whole day that we get to appreciate Veterans. I think that maybe if we could appreciate them more they wouldn’t end up so sad. I think that in appreciation for Veterans we could help them feel more welcome when they came home.
This is why Veterans are very, very important. If we didn’t have them we wouldn’t be living in the country we’re living in today. This is why Veterans Day is important to me.
Izzy Miller, Age 13, Lititz
What Veterans Day Means To Me
Undoubtedly, the meaning of Veterans Day is swayed by the individual’s experiences. Some know a person who fought, and some were one. The words one very well could think of when they think of Veterans Day are loyalty, courage, and selflessness.
Loyalty is a very strong word. Soldiers are loyal to their country, even when it is grueling. These warriors get up everyday, renewed with the passion that allows them to fight for the US and its people. The loyalty of these people is incredible. Most civilians consider their loyalty to be to a friend. How soldiers pledge their loyalty to an entire country is beyond many.
It is not just the soldiers who need courage. When one goes overseas, the families of the serviceperson are also staring at the possibility of never seeing their loved one again. It takes immense courage to fight, and to let your loved one go. To countless, it seems absolutely crazy to risk your life. That is because they do not have anywhere near as much courage as a serviceperson does. Along with the courage that soldiers have in the field, they also have the courage to return home, knowing there is a possibility that they could be unemployed. While certain organizations are working to solve the problem, it is still relevant in our country.
No one can deny how devoted the people that fight for our country are. They are selfless. They go through intensive training so they can keep the United Sates of America safe from anything that could possibly jeopardize our freedom at all. Being willing to risk your life for others you do not even know. Carl and Beverly Tannehill could not have said it better. “Most of us have no idea the cost you bear in order to serve your country. We can only imagine how difficult it would be to leave family and friends behind to do the job you feel you need to do.”
Thank you veterans! Although normal people could never envision how much veterans do behind the “scenes”, everyone wants the people who defend the USA to know how much they are appreciated, whether we know how to say it or not. It is clear that every veteran can be described by using the words loyalty, selflessness, and courage.
Julia Leedy, Age 15, Denver
What Veterans Day Means To Me
Veterans Day holds a special meaning to many American citizens, including myself. Many members of both sides of my family have served for our nation, granting us peace of mind unlike many unfortunate countries. But it is not only we who are lucky to have our veterans. Veterans Day, to me, means that countless people around the world are safe and alive from the courageous work of some of the bravest people in our country.
My uncles didn’t like talking about what they did overseas. They didn’t want to remember the horrors of full out brutal war. But because of their service along with millions of others, safety was and still is ensured globally. They have protected and defended victims of war. Families sit at their dinner tables together to this night because of our veterans. I am always humbled that I have family members who took part in saving lives including my own grandfather.
America will always have negative aspects. We are not a perfect country. We are a country, however, that realizes on a massive scale how much help we can give and the importance of us doing so. America’s work that can only be described as frustratingly difficult is rewarded when the governments of friends and enemies alike move forward to create a more harmonic lifestyle for their people. I live in a country where fighting for good is not a choice but a must. That not only gives me pride but also hopefulness for our future.
Whenever I see a veteran or family of a veteran, I thank them and I encourage you to do the same. These men and women sacrificed their mental health, emotional stability, and lives just so somewhere, a little girl can play on the swing set with her father. Families and friends have more time together in a safer world. That is a level of bravery some of us can only dream to achieve. Veterans Day means that bravery won, some good conquered some evil.
Thank you to all of our Veterans. You have put yourself aside for strangers and don’t receive enough credit for doing so. I am grateful for Veterans Day where we can honor you and celebrate your service. America would not be the country it is today without you.
Gavin Grove, Age 14, Akron
What does Veterans Day mean to me? To me, Veterans Day is a day to honor those who risked and sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We all probably know a veteran, but have we ever taken the time to hear their stories? So many of our Veterans relive their war time memories every day. Many Veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from all the horrors of war they have seen. Perhaps we could all appreciate our freedom more if we could see into the mind of a Veteran and all that they endured for us and our country. As famous American Civil War General William T. Sherman said, “War is Hell” and I believe him.
There are several veterans in my family from various wars. I’m honored to know they fought for our country. My great-grandpa, Paul W. Good, fought in World War II. I can’t imagine how many sacrifices he had to make in order to defend our country. Can you imagine leaving everything you know to defend our country overseas? The fear of not knowing if you would make it back or not? I am proud to hear parts of my great-grandpa’s war story from my great-grandma.
Veterans Day is only once a year, but we need to honor our veterans every day. If you see a veteran, ask him or her their story. Thank them for their service. Respect all that they have done so we can live as we do now. Without their bravery and loyalty to the United States of America, we may not know the freedoms we experience today.
Susan Snook, Age 54, Akron
What Veterans Day Means To Me
Our country wouldn’t be what it is today without veterans. They committed the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Veterans are separated from their families for weeks, months and years. There may be communication through technology, but it is not the same as having them in person. The hugs, kisses, emotional bonding and closeness are missing. We all know what it’s like to be missing them. But how many of us take the time to wonder what it is like for them?
Veterans who served during war time may have been captured and tortured. Something almost no one can begin to imagine. They may have been subjected to deplorable conditions. Can any of us fathom what it is like to be out in the middle of the desert in full gear with temperatures soaring in the 100s? What about in the dead of winter with snow on the ground in a fox hole with wet feet in wet boots and possibly without a coat?
Veterans care. When they return home, more than ever, they need us as much as we need them. It must be incredibly difficult to return to life and a new normal after facing the hardships they went through. They may have had to experience horrific events. We may never know how they really feel. Who would want to relive those moments? So many of them bury those experiences in the back of their mind, never wanting to talk about or think about them again.
And we must not forget those who did not make it home. They are just as much veterans as the living. Take time to reflect and realize that they never had a chance to live out their lives, start families, and make their mark in the world.
Veterans from World War II are dying off by the hundreds every day. There are approximately 850,000 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II. We have memorials in Washington, DC, but we must also maintain the memories in our hearts.
Many of us think of ourselves. Veterans Day dedicates a day and gives us a chance to reflect and think of the other person. So most of all, what Veterans Day means to me is “thank you.” If you see a veteran, take time to stop…shake their hand and say THANK YOU.
Alan Price, Age 92, Lititz
What Does Veterans Day Mean To You?
I am a veteran of World War II and am now age 92. Back in those days we were told we were fighting to preserve “our free way of life.” I have read that more than 300,000 American servicemen died in the service of our country in that conflict.
In that war I was assigned to the Americal Division on Bougainville Island in the South Pacific. This island, with daily rainfall, has impenetrable jungle vegetation and our platoon had to patrol on paths long-established by the native population (a platoon consists of about 40 men). Since we had to walk single file, the first person was a scout named Lopez. He was Mexican-American from south Texas. His task was to search for Japanese ambushes. Believe me, this was a really dangerous assignment! But with some narrow escapes he survived. Then we were re-assigned to the Philippine Islands.
We had invaded one of the islands, Cebu, by means of an amphibious assault, still with Lopez, our scout, leading the way. Now our leaders felt Lopez should be recognized for his efforts and he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and assigned his own squad of men to command.
On his first patrol with his new squad, Lopez was killed by a Japanese machine gunner. The platoon was devastated. We loved Lopez.
On this Veterans Day, let us all take a few moments to pray for those brave men who, throughout the years, have died to “preserve our free way of life.”
Nicole Martin, Age 10, Denver
This is what Veterans and Veterans Day mean to me.
It is important to honor Veterans who have served in the military and risked their lives for America. Veterans sacrifice a lot, leaving their home and loved ones, risking their lives, and having the risk of getting hurt.
My cousin is in the Army and I don't see him a lot. So I know what it is like for people that have loved ones in the military. They fight not just for America or its freedoms, but for all of us.
Most people might not care much about Veterans Day or they forget about it. I remember it and thank them. THANK YOU VETERANS! I hope that every Veteran will think about what they have done for us all. You should be proud. Thank you.
Tayla Todd, Age 10, Ephrata
Veterans Day Daughter
My Dad is a Veteran. He works in the military. He is a psychologist. When he goes to the Army on the weekend he does cool exercises by doing an American ninja warrior course or doing pushups, crunches, curl ups, and other cool stuff. Every year our school has a “Red, White, and Blue” day to honor the police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and the military. My Dad comes every year. I love him very much. This means so much to me. My grandpa is also a Veteran. Poppy served in the Navy. Poppy went on destroyer boats. They must have been huge. He saw dolphins, sharks, whales, and other fascinating creatures. I bet it’s fun to do that, but it also takes hard work. Veterans Day is when we honor our Veterans who served our country to protect us from evil and lead us to freedom. We should all look up to our Veterans as leaders. So say a prayer for those who are at war and that those who die may rest in peace with God. We love all of the Veterans and we should keep them in a special place in our hearts. Don’t ignore our Veterans. Treat them with respect and honor. Thank you for serving our country! We are very proud of you!
Jonathan Rathman, Age 11, Denver
Honoring Our Veterans
On Veterans Day, it’s easy to sit back and relax, but it is important to think about all the people who served in the military. These people charged into dangerous battles to save people like you and me. They risked their lives to help us and their country. We would not have the freedoms that we have now if they had not fought for our country. Don’t you think they deserve more than one day of our attention and respect?
Some people think it is easy to serve in the military, but they are very wrong; being a soldier is extremely hard which is why it is amazing to think veterans did it for people they did not know. Sadly, many soldiers died, but they were all willing to give up their lives to save many, many more. Veterans are amazing people which is why it is important to at least say “thank you” to them to show that you appreciate what they did for us and our country.
Another way to honor veterans is by knowing their stories. For example, the WASPS (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) who patrolled during World War II were sent home with no veteran status due to male pilots who wanted their jobs. These people were forgotten for 33 years until someone found out about the WASPS.
Veterans Day is not the only time you can be kind to veterans. They would appreciate if you brought them a meal or a card at any time not just on Veterans Day. Other ways to honor veterans include praying for them, attending a special Veterans Day ceremony or listening to their stories. What are you going to do for Veterans Day?
Carter Sauder, Age 11, Stevens
What Veterans Day Means To Me
Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor all the people that served our country. Veterans have done many things for our country. Some of them fought on foot, or in the air, some even worked in field hospitals. All of the veterans helped our country one way or another. So thank you to all of the veterans.
First, I am going to talk about all the veterans who fought on foot. You played a very important and dangerous role. Thank you for your willingness to fight and help our country be safe. You also helped out other countries that needed help in time of war.
Second, I am going to talk about all those that served in the air. You risked your life also because the plane could have crashed or other things could have happened to the plane as you were flying it. Thank you for that risk you took in that major role you did.
Plus, I want to admire the big parts the people did who were working in the field hospitals. You helped the wounded soldiers that could have died without your help. You also showed wisdom as you had to fix and work on the soldier’s wounds. Thank you for that because not everyone can do that job. And I also know that women served as nurses and even some fought so thank you to all the women.
Last, I want all this to show that I am very grateful for all our veterans. Thank you for all that work you did to help out people like me. Because you fought I can celebrate my birthday, which is Veterans Day, in a free country. Thank you!
Denise Duchesneau, Age 45, Ephrata
Veterans Day Means My Grandpa:
Quiet Hero, The Greatest Generation
“How many World War II fighters are still alive?” wondered my son’s classmate. “Only God knows,” I replied. I thought about the WWII Veteran I knew best. “My grandfather fought in the War,” I said. “He was a marine. Once he experienced a close call with the Japanese in the Pacific Ocean; his submarine was forced to submerge for two weeks. He didn’t like to talk about it.”
My grandmother told me that little bit; I dared not to ask my tall, solid, stern and square-shouldered grandfather. Every day he solemnly rocked his favorite chair on the back enclosed porch and read the afternoon paper. My dad knew better than to tell Grandma when he found Grandpa sneaking cigarettes underneath that porch. Later, when I was a senior in college, Grandpa bought me my first car – a 1980s, gray, two-door Buick Century in perfect condition. After haggling with the dealer, he parked it in my parents’ driveway and asked, “So, how’d ja like it? You’d better like it, because it’s yours.”
My grandfather died in 1999 at age 77, from lung cancer. I still thought about him almost every day. “He had a good heart,” I said finally. “He was a good man. They all were. There’s a reason why we call them ‘The Greatest Generation.’”
Later that evening, I discovered the Veterans Day essay contest in The Shopping News. “Curious timing,” I thought.
Obviously, Veterans Day means my grandfather to me. His name is Michael Meter, and he is the best example I know of what a veteran is. He’s helped me become the person I am; he has always challenged me to grow.
My grandfather is the Quiet Hero, the Greatest Generation. He stood for what he knew was right. He believed in something greater than himself, and he was willing to sacrifice for it. To Grandpa, the United States meant God, family, freedom, hard work and humble living; these ideals are for what Grandpa fought, and determined how he lived. He worked honestly, lived simply, stocked up, saved up, provided for his wife, children and grandchildren, gifted generously, and above all, gave a quiet example. He honored keeping things to himself. There was respect in letting a veteran – or anyone – keep his experiences personal, and in understanding that those things inside were sacred.
I’m mindful of Grandpa, especially at this time in history when it can be hard to stand for what’s right, and a lot of the world seems to not know enough about God, family, freedom, truth, humble living and hard, honest work. Today, where technology makes everybody’s life everybody’s business, I remember my grandfather’s bravery, sacrifice, kindness, generosity and silence. There may be fewer WWII veterans living, but there are thousands of legacies, like my Grandpa’s. I want to make him proud by my life and self. I keep him alive by remembering always what he is: Quiet Hero, the Greatest Generation.
Patrice Mull, Age 54, Ephrata
Sitting with my grandmother, I asked ‘what was it like growing up in the depression?’ After a long still silence, I finally said “I can’t imagine”.
My dad was in the Korean War. All I know is that he served in the medic unit. He never really talked about it either.
My father in law and his brothers served in several wars. Whenever the topic of veterans comes up, my father in law bows his head. After a moment of silence, he talks about the war with pride. His body language and mannerism are in an honorable pose. Yet offering very little details. He’s proud to be an American and to have served.
There is a sadness in his voice and a wetness in his eyes. He says all the men came back ‘different’.
Different in a bad way. We have had wars for too many years. Today, so many young men and women going through the same ordeal. This type of history should not be repeated.
Recently NPR had an interview with the American prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials. Mr. Benjamin Ferencz, the Nuremberg prosecutor, sad “law not war”.
Let us always remember and honor our veterans. Veterans Day is a very special day. God bless America. A peaceful America.
Esther Leicy, Age 55, Stevens
What Veterans Day Means To Me
- having your son in 12th grade tell you he is joining the National Guard
- finding out that Boot Camp is worse than some deployments
- traveling the U.S. to follow your son to graduations and deployment meetings
- holding your tears to be strong for your soldier son
- wearing sunglasses in the airport, so no one sees you crying
- putting up a very small Christmas tree the year he is overseas
- mailing box after box at the post office, filling out custom forms for each one
- local churches praying and taking offerings to help the soldiers celebrate their homecoming
- visiting with the wounded survivor
- listening to the widow left behind
- attending the military funeral of your son’s friend at Arlington Cemetery
- having a second son join the National Guard as well
- having a third son join the U.S. Air Force
- troop greeting at the airport, as soldiers are coming home
- listening to people who don’t support your son’s decision
- watching your son grow into a respected, talented leader
- watching your son choose a wife who will support his military decisions
- knowing the soldiers have been told, “they will not all come home,” by God’s grace they do!
- listening to your grandson as he misses his daddy
- watching your son leave for his third deployment, this time in a very different role
- writing to the soldier who isn’t getting any mail
- receiving the world’s greatest hug from him at homecoming
- making a magnitude of sacrifices
- becoming instant family with any member of the military, anywhere
- knowing that freedom really isn’t free
- knowing you owe a debt to all wounded warriors
- supporting soldiers and their families any way you can
- being grateful for the country you live in
- flying your flag in front of your home
- saluting all those who have served and are serving!
Thank you all!
Nancy Probst, Age 84, Ephrata
What Veterans Day Means To Me
Veterans Day makes me very sad and also happy. Sad for the many who never returned, and their families, and happy to shake a Veteran’s hand and say “thank you” for serving.
How loud do I have to shout, to tell each and every person (all ages), we must never, ever forget our Veterans. Veterans Day brings lots of thoughts and memories to me.
Raising our family to be patriotic and to always honor our flag.
I think of the Veterans who have served, so we can still honor the flag. Without their bravery, what would our country be like? War is plain Hell. The Veterans need to hold their heads high and be proud of themselves and I know they are.
I also think of the thoughts locked in their minds which they never talk about. Veterans Day because of them we just plain down have plenty of everything, food, work, freedom, a free country. What more do we need? Nothing except keep honoring our Veterans and honoring Veterans Day and fly our flags.
Proud to be a wife of a deceased Korean War Veteran and also proud of our youngest son retired from the military, served twenty one years.
Fannie Shirker, Age 87, Ephrata
I was the wife of the late PFC Robert M. Shirker, who served his country in World War II. He was missing in action for three months. He was thought of as being dead, but then his mother, “Sofie,” received a telegram stating that he was alive. He was a prisoner of war for 17 months in Germany.
When he came home, we were all elated! Veterans Day to me means the thought of my husband coming home and being alive and free.
I really appreciate all the men and women who served (and are serving right now) our country so we can be as free as we are today.
Last Updated (Monday, 28 November 2016 12:56)