Bob Mitchell: Honor our local veterans

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This Friday is Veterans Day, which was once known by Armistice Day, which designated the end of World War II. In later years, after other conflicts and wars, Congress saw fit to change the name of this observance.

Mitchell

Veterans Day can be more than enjoying a holiday, a fishing trip, an outing camping or just eating too much. Instead, as intended, it should be a day of recognition for those who gave their lives to protect and provide the freedoms we enjoy today. It can and should be a time for recognizing those who gave time out of their lives to serve their country, no matter of what uniform they wore.

Veterans Day is just what it says, recognizing those also who passed away with an appropriate display of the Flag of the United States of America at their gravesite.

Barry County cemeteries will take on an additional color glow the weekend of Veterans Day, as loved ones place the American Flag at the headstone of a grave. This designation will be even more important, high above those floral arrangements that will be on graves of those who still have family here for the recognition.

In some ways of thinking, Veterans Day could rank just below Christmas as an appropriate holiday for the American public. Today's situations elsewhere in the world clearly support this way of thinking.

It takes just a minute

During the busy, upcoming holiday observance, when friends and family are gathered around for a picnic or a sit-down dinner at home, take just a short time for a period of silence to remember those veterans who, over all the wars, who have answered the call, whether by conscription or volunteering, to serve their country in time of need.

Veterans speak out

In this political year, it appears veterans are once again speaking out, in their pride of having served their country. Years ago, there wasn't a political candidate who had ever worn a uniform that didn't fail to include this feature in his resume of accomplishments and claimed eligibility. Like today, just having been in the service apparently isn't enough to warrant gaining a public office. This wasn't enough to push some folks into a government job in the past, and it's doubtful it will some generations later.

But it is good to see those who have seen a different side of life decide they might be experienced enough and seen the other side of the coin to become a public servant. Simply having worn any uniform for the USA doesn't qualify a candidate for office, many things might have happened in their lives since military service that would keep them out of public office.

Voters decide who they want to be providing government for them, not just the title of veteran pushing a candidate in office.

Barry County numbers

According to Knisa Montgomery of the Missouri Veterans Commission, Veterans Service Program, the 2016 number estimated for veterans living in Barry County stands at 2,961. That's the number the government agency list for all those who have served from World War II through peacetime.

Breakdowns of those who have served include the following: 92 for WWII, 219 Korean War, 978 Vietnam War, 948 Gulf War, and 754 peacetime service persons.

It is interesting to note that government agencies have apparently dropped the "conflict" title to some of the military involvements of the Armed Forces in past history.

In 2014's tables, there were a total of 3,200 veterans apparently accounted for in the county, which would relate to 239 now deceased.

State veteran numbers

According to figures from the Department of Veteran Affairs, National Center for Veteran Analysis of Statistics, there are a total of 482,316 total veterans in Missouri.

A breakdown of this number by conflict served, 324,778 during wartime, includes 15,245 in World War II, 36,177 in the Korean War, 162,732 in Vietnam and 156, 842 in the Gulf War.

Going back further

Back in 2001, the government agency listed 3,857 in the county, in 2002 that number dropped to 3,599, then in 2008 the number was 3,435, then 2011 the statistic was 3,149.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.

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