MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE, SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY. When we sing this song do we ever pause and think about what we are singing? Webster defines Liberty as the freedom from arbitrary or despotic government, power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice. Freedom from captivity, and freedom from bondage. To be free!
Do we ever stop to think of the great sacrifice that has been made by so many down through the years that we might have this freedom? On November 11, we observe Veterans Day. To most people this is just another day one doesn’t have to go to work. To me I think this should be treated as one of the most important days of the year…next to Christmas and Easter.
Down through the ages men have marched off to war. The Bible tells of great battles being fought. Many wars have been fought during my lifetime. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Frank was not one to talk about his experiences during World War II and it was not until after his death and during the observances of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day that I really realized what he had gone through. As I watched the film of the landing at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, I began to understand how painful it must have been for him to talk about it. In 1992, I had the privilege of going to Korea with my sister Maxine and her husband, Kermit, as guests of the Korean government. We were with a group of other veterans that were to be honored by the Korean government. As I sat and listened to the men talk about their survival of the long hard winters that Korea endure, how their face masks would freeze to their faces I just wondered do we really appreciate these people?
On November 11, there will be a gathering at the Greenwood Performing Arts honoring our veterans. Very few people attend these ceremonies. I think that this is such a small way to show our deep appreciation for the sacrifices that these people have made for us down through the ages.
Each year one of the most important parts of the day for me is driving through the National Cemetery in Fort Smith. The row on row of stark white stones marking the burial place for these brave men. Many who paid the extreme sacrifice. The avenue of flags blowing in the breeze is one of the most touching sights that I have seen. If you have never driven through this cemetery and witness this you have really missed something. If this does not leave you with goose bumps nothing will. This year on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 o’clock at the Performing Arts in Greenwood let us show our support for those who have given so much. And I urge you to take the short drive to the National Cemetery in Fort Smith, you will be deeply rewarded.
I love the poem “In Flanders Field the poppies grow between the crosses row on row…”
To all our veterans I say, “THANK YOU!”