How are YOU observing Veterans Day?
By Bill Simpson, Potter County Director of Veterans Affairs
As you’ll see on your calendar, Nov. 11 falls on a Friday this year. That makes it convenient for many government workers and others to enjoy a coveted three-day weekend.
Sadly, that’s what Veterans Day has become to a growing number of Americans. Many will take little, if any, time to reflect on the service of our military veterans.
They may not inconvenience themselves to consider or how our service members’ sacrifices have allowed us to enjoy the blessings of liberty that include a three-day weekend.
Fewer still will take the time to seek out a veteran and share a simple, “Thank you for your service.” It may surprise many of you to learn that a significant number of our military veterans never hear that expression or otherwise have their service acknowledged.
Let’s resolve to make Veterans Day 2016 different. This could involve not only our American Legion and VFW posts, but also our schools, our churches and other community organizations. Parents can help, too.
There are many local examples we could follow. For instance, Oswayo Valley and Northern Potter school districts go out of their way to welcome and honor area military service personnel each Veterans Day. Many of these are grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles or aunts of today’s students (many dressed in uniform) who visit the schools and share their experiences. Teachers use the occasion to educate the students on not only military history, but the core American values of patriotism and service.
At American Legion Post 192, members of the Legion Auxiliary are collecting names and addresses of active-duty military service members serving overseas or in the U.S. as part of local outreach to express unfailing community support.
These and countless other examples remind us that even though social trends have changed, the fundamental values that made our nation great endure because of the men and women who have answered the high calling of military service.
This year’s Pennsylvania Governor’s Proclamation for Veterans Day provides us with plenty of food for thought as we honor those who have served, whether we’re involved in a public event or engaged on a more personal moment in prayer and reflection:
“Carefully preserved within the pages of American history lie the valiant stories of the men and women who fought with valor and fortitude to defend the ideals upon which our great nation was founded – liberty, freedom and justice.
“These dedicated men and women reinforce the truth that heroism is not a gift or a goal, but often a moment, and sometimes a lifetime, of pure selflessness. Our veterans disregard personal well-being and act with incredible honor to preserve for us a gift of unapproachable magnitude – our freedom.
“As citizens, we owe an inexpressible debt to our veterans, and we ask with humility and gratitude that their spirit never be forgotten.”