Column: Every day should be Veterans DayMany people say Christmas is their favorite time of year. Others like fishing opener weekend. Me? I enjoy these couple of weeks we’ve been in. To be more exact, I love to honor veterans.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Many people say Christmas is their favorite time of year. Others like fishing opener weekend. Me? I enjoy these couple of weeks we’ve been in. To be more exact, I love to honor veterans.
In the time since I wrote my last column, I’ve had the three separate opportunities to be surrounded by some of the men and women who have served our country in the US military. One of those was last Thursday’s Patriotic Day ceremony.
Patriotic Day is a collaboration of local veterans’ service organizations, the Farmington School District, various community service organizations, area churches and overall good-hearted people.
I’ve been pleased to be part of Patriotic Day for the past three years. I have the honor of working with the student emcees and writing the script they read. This year, our master of ceremonies was the president of the Farmington High School Yellow Ribbon Chapter, Brad Dow, who is also well on his way toward being a National Guard soldier. Mistress of ceremonies Anna Larson of Christian Life School attended the Girls State program last summer.
My favorite part of the Patriotic Day ceremony comes when the Farmington High School band performs the Armed Forces Salute. It’s a shame more people cannot be up front, facing the audience, when that song is played. It brings me to tears every time.
The piece features the songs of each branch of the military. When each veteran’s respective melody is played, he or she stands to be recognized.
To be down in front, I face the audience, and I have the rare opportunity to see just how many veterans are there. Some are parents around my age or younger; some are in wheelchairs because age or injury has made walking difficult. When they stand to be recognized, I can plainly see the pride they have because they have defended their country. They have fought for our freedom and they deserve to be honored.
Several current National Guard soldiers are also in attendance, there to help seat the elderly, to assist the audience in finding seats, to clear tables and to simply bring a military presence to the event. I look to the left and the right of the audience, and I see these same soldiers. No one knows what they’ve seen in their careers – how many times any of them have been deployed, what they have experienced, what kinds of struggles they have endured – and I think how wonderful it is they are able to be with us.
I look to the stage. Brad is wearing his dress uniform. He’s already made his commitment to serve his country. I wonder, seeing the high school band, how many of those students will also enlist. Watching the fourth grade choir sing, I wonder if any of those students will one day be a part of the US military.
To realize that I was in a room with several generations of veterans is humbling. We literally had the past, present and future of our military in one place at one time. How cool is that?
On Sunday and Monday, we will thank our veterans again, as Veterans Day is actually Sunday. I’ll see lots of posts on Facebook, and we’ll all say “Happy Veterans Day” to our friends and our family members who have served our country. And that’s great.
It’s Tuesday, Wednesday, the middle of February or the late part of July, when we also have to think about thanking our veterans. We have an obligation to honor and serve the men and women who have served the US all year long.
I choose to support veterans through my membership in the American Legion Auxiliary. Our organization celebrates its 93rd anniversary on Saturday, and I am proud to be a part of it. But Farmington is blessed to also have a VFW Post, and an American Legion Post. The VFW has a Ladies Auxiliary and a Men’s Auxiliary. The American Legion family includes a Sons of the American Legion Squadron and an ALA Juniors program. And last, but certainly not least, we have the Farmington Yellow Ribbon Network.
All of our organizations are dedicated to serving veterans, active military and their families all year long. And we will need to continue that support in the generations to come.
They didn’t take a break when they were serving us, our parents, our communities and our nation. We owe them that same dedication. As far as I’m concerned, every day should be Veterans Day.
Thank you, Veterans, for everything you have done for us.