Take A Moment
It’s early in the morning on Veteran’s Day, the radio is on and everyone is talking about how to honor our veterans, both past and present. I see today as a special day, one to remind us to honor our veterans not only today, but throughout the year.
As the years in one’s life pass by, they seem to speed up. Each new year doesn’t seem to take as long as the last year did to meet the new one. As the years go by, I also find myself thinking more about veterans and what they have given our country, especially those who have given their lives. This week’s story about Howard Woody, founder of Union Telephone and a World War II Veteran, offers a glimpse of those sacrifices. Intending to enlist in the military for a year so he could attend college, Howard didn’t arrive home until five years later.
Our current war in the Middle East has been going on so long a lot of people have come to take it for granted. It did hit the news in Wyoming this past summer when some 700 Wyoming National Guard members deployed to Kuwait to support the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. While we are all glad they are not amidst combat, they are serving their country to the best of their ability and are separated from their families while doing so. While they could be in a more hostile environment, we all know that when it comes to the military you go where you’re told.
In the late ‘60s my number came up and I was drafted. I spent most of my time in southern Germany as a topo surveyor. My brother served in Vietnam as a crew chief on a helicopter where he saw as much action as anyone. He was flying into Cambodia before the United States was allowed to do so. My dad was a fighter pilot in North Africa and Italy in World War II. He experienced plenty.
Regardless of where you served, you did the best you could. That’s an American tradition spanning from the times of George Washington’s winter on Valley Forge to the present-day turmoil in the Middle East. Because of these wars and the men and women in uniform and their families, we have more freedom than any country in the world. We can cast our vote, speak our mind and stand on the street corner holding a sign expressing our feelings, if we so choose. It is also our right not to have to listen to or read the words of those we wish not to hear.
I will say that troops today are more fortunate than those from the past. They have more support at home and better medical treatment, both at home and abroad. The medical treatment, both mental and physical, is the best it ever has been. That isn’t, however, to say it couldn’t be improved upon. The last few years everyone has recognized the mental issues that accompany a return from war. That is good news. It is too bad America didn’t take the mental issues into account when our veterans were returning from the Korean War and Vietnam. Many suffered for lack of treatment.
A wise person once said, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”