May it ever be so

There was no mail Monday. Banks and other federal buildings were closed. It was a federal holiday.

If you had the chance, just off the downtown square a living legend was joined by others on Monday at one of our downtown parks. It was Col. Joe M. Jackson, who was in town visiting. A former Cowetan, he is the only living Medal of Honor recipient from our county.

He is one of the select few to hold the nation’s highest military honor. He is one of even fewer still living.

Surrounding him were others who served. Monday was, after all, Veterans Day. And those in the military - past and present - gathered at Veterans Memorial Plaza on Jackson Street to honor their own.

We often shake our heads at what constitutes heroes in today’s society. Too often it’s some reality TV show family with more problems and angst and issues than a made-up soap opera, with too much money and not enough common sense. Or it’s some athlete who cheats with steroids or some singer who has perfected the “art” of twerking and sticking their tongue out.

Those are not heroes. The men and women at the Veterans park on Monday were - and are.

This community has always remembered that. And that’s the way it should be. Without those who have served and serve now, our very country is doomed. We can argue till the cats come home about Obamacare, immigration, Wall Street, legality of marijuana, gay marriage and a host of other issues, but let us always put our differences aside and say a simple “thank you” when we pass a veteran.

We may not always agree on whether we should even be in certain military situations in far off countries most of us can’t find on a map. We can argue the politics of the matter, but let us always support those fighting.

The divisiveness caused by the Vietnam War decades ago, the abuse heaped on so many soldiers, has fortunately dissipated with this generation.

That was highlighted recently in two situations, one here in the States and one in England. Two veterans, both over 90, died. They never married, never had children. In fact, they had no family to speak of at all.

Volunteers sent out pleas over social media. At each of these soldiers’ funerals, without knowing the soldiers’ names, hundreds showed up to pay their final respects.

May it ever be so.

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