Commonwealth Journal

Columns

November 17, 2011

A Thank You from Veterans

Somerset — On Friday, November 11, 2011, the American Legion Post 38 Honor Guard and other veterans were honored by some of the local schools in Pulaski County.

I do not speak of “being honored” in the traditional sense, such as the students and faculty paying homage to us, although I know this was their true intent. I speak of “being honored” through the eyes of the veterans and some of their family members that were there.

Hundreds and hundreds of young, intelligent, enthusiastic faces, looking with wonder toward those men and women in their full dress uniforms. And those men and women in full dress uniforms looking out over that sea of young faces, knowing they, the veterans, would make all those sacrifices again, if necessary, to defend the future and freedom of those little ones.

Those young ones reminded us of our youth, our hopes and dreams, and our vulnerabilities.

Our minds sometimes take mental pictures that remain with us. One such picture remains with me from the stage in the auditorium of Southern Elementary School. The school chorus was singing the National Anthem, everyone was standing and the veterans were saluting. My eyes were drawn to 2 small girls, probably kindergarten, on the front row. They did not have their hands over their hearts; instead, their little fingers were touching their foreheads, just like the veterans on the stage in front of them.

I was reminded of how these children are not only students, they are imitators. They watch us, they learn from us, and they imitate us. Through this process they develop the morals, character, faith, trust and outlook on life that shapes their future. I was also reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 18:3; “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” What a better world it would be if we but practice what this verse is trying to tell us.

Every veteran was deeply touched as the school chorus sang “Thank a Vet.” You just can’t swallow that lump in your throat and you’re thankful the chorus is behind you so they can’t see the watery eyes or the tears that slips down the cheeks of the hardened vets. After the program I asked a student how long it took them to practice and learn the words to all those songs. She proudly answered; six weeks.

The children could not possibly have known about the awe and wonder with which we looked upon them, and how much they renewed our faith in the youth of America, led by the dedicated teachers and faculties of our school system. They could not possibly have known how honored we felt to be in their midst.

Many other schools and organizations were involved in honoring the veterans, too numerous to list and describe in a short article.  

Also, a thanks to Tori Gooch and all those at the Commonwealth Journal for their time and effort toward making it a special day for the veterans. To all of you; thanks and we salute YOU!

•••

You can contact Cline Calhoun at

ccalhoun1@windstream.net

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