Next week, communities across Barry County will take time to honor the men and women who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. Community members will gather to salute veterans of several wars and those who have served during times of peace. In doing so we will also honor the families who have selflessly supported loved ones sent to foreign lands to protect our freedom and those who have left their own families to travel with their loved ones to military bases around the world.
Although I did not grow up in a military family and have never directly felt the sacrifice that these men and women and their families make, I have great respect for all veterans. My grandfather, Onel Deal, was a World War II veteran who fought in various locations across Europe. He didn't talk about his service often, but when he did he spoke of the sacrifices made by many of his fallen comrades during the war. Even though he would never have bragged about his service to our country, I know that he and those who fought with him were heroes.
Whether your father or grandfather was a World War II, Vietnam or Korean War veteran or your friend's brother, sister, son or daughter served in Iraq or Afghanistan, we have all been touched by a veteran or someone who is an active member of the military. These men and women have sacrificed a portion, and in some cases their entire lives so that other Americans never have to feel the fears or see the horrors that go hand-in-hand with war.
I have the utmost respect for each and every veteran who has selflessly served our country, and I am happy to know that I live in an area where schools continue to teach students about Veterans Day. I believe it is very important for each child to understand the sacrifice that has been made on their behalf. Each area student should understand why they are asked to remove their hat and put their hand on their heart when listening to the "Star Spangled Banner." Each student should understand the sacrifices that have been made to keep The Flag of the United States of America flying high and the reason that we never applaud after "Taps."
The Cassville Democrat staff would like to join area school districts and communities in saluting our veterans, not only next week on Veterans Day, but throughout the year. We understand that the sacrifices of each of these men and women have helped protect all of our rights, including the First Amendment, which gives us the opportunity to continue to publish a newspaper with commentary pieces and editorials like this one.
To all our local veterans and their families, thank you for your sacrifice and service. You are the heroes of our community.