It’s that time of year where I sit down and I write my Veterans Day column. See, it’s important to me. I admire veterans and everything they mean to our country. Those who go out and fight in far-off lands, and even domestically, to defend our rights to peacefully lay down our heads at night should be the most highly regarded people in our nation.
Perhaps it’s because I come from a long line of those who served. My great grandfathers, my grandfathers, my mother, father, uncles and several cousins, all took an oath and served in one of our military branches. See, I’m the odd one out in my family. The “black sheep,” if you will, but just because I knew a different path was the right one for me doesn’t mean I disregard the accomplishments of those who served.
Over this past year, I’ve met many remarkable people in Tate County who are veterans and every one of them deserve our gratitude. We have literal heroes who live next door to us, shop at Walmart with us, attend church with us, patrol the streets as law enforcement officers and sip coffee in the mornings at The Broken Cup. These men and women are living legends because they selflessly chose to put the American people and the American way of life before their very own, if it came down to it. And they live right here in Tate County.
With our country in turmoil over what the folks in Washington will decide next, this is something that we can all agree on: our veterans deserve our respect. The VA hospitals are loaded down with appointments. My own grandfather was recently diagnosed with a type of skin cancer on his ear and had to wait far longer than what would have happened through a health care avenue other than the VA. It really should be just the oppose for our vets. They should be the ones rushed through any medical procedures they need. Where’s the talk in Washington on fixing these issues? Why is it 2021 and we are more concerned about whether or not to wear a mask to outside event than we are about the homeless veteran sleeping on a bench at that very same outside event? Where has our respect and gratitude for these men and women gone?
This past Columbus Day or Indigenous People Day, I looked around and saw many young people take to social media to condemn the actions of Christopher Columbus. It was a great cause. The indigenous people of the time endured grave injustices at the hands of an ignorant man; but I wonder how many of those same young people will take to social media this Veterans Day and condemn the modern treatment of our living veterans, or better yet, the many veterans who have passed because they were not able to receive the medical and mental help they deserved?
It seems to me the younger generations are only picking and choosing the causes they deem “outrageous and egregious.” It’s a weird flavor-of-the-week ordeal by all appearances. What makes one cause more important and appealing than another?
It will be up to the American people to show the way for these young people to continue to respect and honor those who serve in our military. We must set the example for them to follow. It starts right here in Mississippi, right here in Tate County and right here in our very own homes.
Tomorrow, November 11, 2021, is their day. Do not let their day slip by this year without saying a “thank you” to them. Don’t wait for a chance meeting in the store to say a flippant “Hey, thank you for your service.” Take a little bit of your time to actually reach out. Make a call, send a text, drop in on a neighbor, make an effort on your part to honor them. None of those activities cost anything but a little bit of our time. It’s the least that we can do considering everything they were willing to do for us.