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Remember veterans each day

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
Tuesday, Americans everywhere will stop to thank the millions of men and women who proudly and bravely served our country during wartime and peace throughout our 230 years as a nation.
From the Revolutionary War to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans have always fought to protect the freedoms that we all deserve.
Unfortunately we often fail to remember the sacrifices that so many people have made for us. Each year on Veteran's Day or around the Fourth of July holiday, our pastor asks veterans to stand so we can recognize them and give them a hand clap of appreciation.
Each time as a I look around at those men and women around that sanctuary I think to myself, 'I didn't know they served in the military."
That's because there is no magic sign that lets us know who served. They don't run around telling everyone they know that they were in a branch of the service.
Each one has their own unique story to tell, but they don't.
My grandfather served during World War II as did countless others for this county.
He had his own personal stories to tell, but he was hesitant to share them through the years. We had a special relationship, however, and he did share with me many things about his time in Germany and France and how he was injured at the Battle of the Bulge.
Those were hard times for him to re-live but he did find a way to talk with me about them.
I remember one particular time when I was home from college for a weekend and I was visiting him, Granddaddy started talking to me about the war and what it was like.
At the time I was about 21 years old and I kept thinking how hard it was for me picture my grandfather wounded on some foreign battlefield when he was two years younger than I was at that time.
I had taken for granted what I was afforded as a young American going off to college still a kid, not forced to be battle-scarred for the rest of my life.
The willingness of people to live and die serving others is remarkable. Despite awards and days named in their honor, there is nothing we can ever do to re-pay these people for what they have done for us.
We can say thank you, we can salute them, we can honor them in so many different ways. But is it really enough?
You know, I should stop my dad sometimes and thank him for serving in the Marines to help ensure that I would have all the possibilities in my life that are before me.
We should all do that to the men and women we know who served our country.
It may never be enough, but now, more than ever, we should thank them for their service, their sacrifice and our freedom.