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A tribute to veterans

Veterans Day is Nov. 11 — one week from today. In this edition, we have featured Marion County veterans who have served or are currently serving our country.

If space would have permitted, we would like have to featured every Marion County veteran who served — stateside and overseas.

With young men required to register and be drafted into the military, we took for granted that they were going in harm’s way to protect our home soil. It was expected of them. Many did it without fanfare or parades.

I was a child in the 1960s when the war in Vietnam was raging. At the time, it really didn’t affect me. I knew about it, but I didn’t feel connected — partly because we didn’t have a television set. And even if we did, the news media didn’t cover it then the way war is covered now.

As a student, I read about the world wars, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam War. I really didn’t have a true appreciation for veterans until I was older and had an opportunity to talk with them.

The late Bill Meyer, mentor and longtime editor and publisher of this newspaper, would tell stories of his experiences of unimaginable human suffering and sacrifice. But through it all, I never once heard him say he regretted his service. Bill was always very proud to have served his country. He was a true war hero.

We have many such heroes in Marion County — those who proudly served, with no regrets.

Saying “thank you” to our veterans seems mundane.

How do you thank someone for risking life and limb so we can publish this newspaper each week and we can work at any job of our choosing?

How do we show our gratitude for the opportunity to say what we think without fear of retribution, being able to travel from state to state and country to country, and being able raise our children the way we want — attending the schools and practicing the religion of our choosing?

Probably the best way to honor veterans from all wars and conflicts is to never forget Veterans Day.

This day is for you, veterans. Soak up the praises. Let the support lift your spirits. Never consider your service unimportant or a waste of time.

There are thousands of troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. These troops willingly left their homes and jobs to serve. These troops should not and will not be forgotten.

So next Wednesday, proudly fly your flag. Pat a veteran on the back and say, “Good job.” Don’t let this day or any day go by without saying a prayer for those who continue to serve.

Amen.

— Susan Berg

Last modified Nov. 4, 2009

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