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Felkins: Our vets deserve our utmost admiration every day

dfox • Updated Nov 14, 2015 at 1:43 AM

There was a lot of pomp and circumstance Wednesday throughout Wilson County, and rightfully so. Wednesday was Veterans Day.

Hundreds gathered in downtown Lebanon to celebrate our local veterans during two ceremonies. The first was Wilson County’s annual parade and ceremony, and a second event, the Fallen Soldiers March, rounded out the day’s activities.

Veterans gathered at Mt. Juliet Christian School to receive honor and hear from country music star Darryl Worley and Mary Tallouzi with the Wounded Warriors Project. Students from across Wilson County paid tribute with posters, drawings, pictures, essays and more. Wilson County Vietnam War veterans visited Southside Elementary School students. Even more events were held across the county in schools, by civic clubs and other groups.

And while these efforts are quite deserving of our veterans, honoring those who have served and continue to serve our country and keep us free should be a daily goal to fully offer our thanks.

Where businesses offered specials for veterans Wednesday, shouldn’t that be readily available every day? 

Shouldn’t discussions centered on all the sacrifices our veterans have made for us be a part of everyday conversation?

Our veterans have given so much to allow us the luxuries we take for granted these days, such as freedom of speech, the right to vote and even the opportunity to print the words found in this newspaper.

We, as Americans, have so much we owe the patriots of American history who have fought and given their lives for everything we have today. Even today, soldiers continue to fight and give their lives for all of us. 

We cannot afford to take that for granted.

If you’re like me, you don’t have to look far to find a veteran. My father, father-in-law and grandfather were war veterans. My dad was one of the first draftees in the Vietnam War. My grandfather drove a water truck in the Philippines during World War II. My father-in-law, a Korean War veteran, was a mechanic who worked on SR-71 Blackbirds during a more than 20-year career in the Air Force. 

There’s my nephew who served two tours in Iraq. Another high school friend served on presidential guard duty at Camp David during the Clinton administration and at peacetime, a rarity in the past decade and a half. Still another high school buddy did a four-year stint on the USS Carl Vinson in the Navy while another was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. in the Marines.

I could go on and on, but I’m sure most everyone either is a veteran or knows just about as many veterans I do…maybe more. They’re all significant. That’s another thing of which I’m sure.

Even though another Veterans Day has come and gone, that doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t celebrate our veterans. I urge everyone to seek out and salute a veteran today and every day. Give them a hug, tell them how much you appreciate them and proudly give them a salute.

For all veterans have done, it’s our duty to return the favor, however large or small that might be.

Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s editor. Email him at jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com and follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.

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