Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
November 10, 2014

Veterans deserve your thanks and appreciation
A Globe Gazette Editorial by Tom Toma

North Iowa, Iowa and the nation just came through a contentious months-long, extremely expensive political campaign, capped off by a peaceful election that will result in a likewise peaceful transition of power in January.

On Tuesday, we can thank some people who sacrificed in support of this remarkable democracy of ours – our veterans. And it won’t cost a thing – just go to a Veterans Day observance near you, share in a few solemn moments, then be sure to shake the hand and hug the veterans you know or meet.

While few veterans are left from World War II, there are plenty in North Iowa who saw action in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world.

Many of them will be at the observances Tuesday – in cemeteries, VFW posts, American Legion Halls -- listening as speakers praise them for doing their duty. There will be taps, rifle salutes and all the other trappings fitting of a ceremony.

But your thanks will mean so much because the veterans will know just how much you care for and appreciate them.

It wasn’t always that way. Legendary are the stories of Vietnam veterans scored and even spit upon for their part in wars.

And only recently has work ramped up to remedy some horrific situations at Veterans Administrations facilities across the country. Indeed, veterans issues were one of the big issues in the recent campaign.

The important thing now is that veterans today get the respect and appreciation they deserve.

Tuesday is the day we will honor them for their gift of service – some who didn’t want to go but were drafted, others who eagerly enlisted.

And they have done remarkable things, whether engaging the enemy on battlefields or through high-tech weaponry such as drones, or fulfilling one of the countless roles that our military needs to remain the highly functioning, best-in-the-world armed force.

Yes, those are the people we will solute on Tuesday. Some still stand tall; others are bent from the weight of time; yet others show the scars and wounds of engagements with hostile forces. Some are in the middle of productive lives, others are winding down the days on life’s clock.

On Tuesday, they will join in saluting each other and, of course, their fallen comrades.

We urge you to join them wherever they gather on Tuesday to salute them on their day, Veterans Day. And parents, please take a moment to explain to your kids what Veterans Day is all about. Google it with them and share in some of the in-depth information you’ll find from many sources.

Make sure they know the first Armistice Day was proclaimed in 1919 to mark the end of World War I, which came on Nov. 11, 1918; how President Woodrow Wilson eulogized fallen Allied soldiers from the war; how the day became officially called Veterans Day and took on a broader mission of honoring all veterans of wartime service in 1954.

Make it more than a blip on the calendar or a day off for some.

On Veterans Day 2014, honor those who who. And make it personal with that handshake and hug.

Photograph courtesy of Globe-Gazette
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016

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