Veterans deserve our appreciation

Published 6:47pm Saturday, November 10, 2012

By Larry Stover

Pastor of Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

This weekend has been occasioned by many special convocations, ceremonies, and other events that have honored those who are serving, and those who have served us, in the military.

While I have never served in the military, I have always been grateful for those who have protected freedoms we all enjoy. I was too young for Vietnam, and after marriage and children, I was put on the back burner as far as the military was concerned.

My father served in the South Pacific during World War II. My father-in-law served in Europe during that same conflict. Every now and then they would talk about their service, but most of those experiences were never shared.

During the past 35 years of ministry, I have seen many of our young people join the various branches of the military to defend this country. Most of them have been sent to the Middle East during the past 20 years or so.

Most of them have come back home and entered the work force and went on with their lives.

Some were not so blessed. The physical and traumatic disorders that affected their lives, have left an indelible mark on them and us who are close to them.

Often they are forgotten. Society moves on. We seem to be only interested in current events. Americans tend to get bored with news that is even a week or two old, and we are ready to move on to the next big event.

After working with a Vietnam veteran, who got into Agent Orange, you don’t soon forget. The experiences of pilots and Navy midshipmen who continually bombarded the enemy initiated a Post-Traumatic Disorder that wounded many of our service people emotionally. It is not easily ignored.

Many stories have come back from the Middle East of women and children strapped with explosives. Our men and women live in harm’s way every day.

Many Americans do not take their freedom seriously at all. They may be opposed to what is happening in Afghanistan and surrounding countries, so they ignore or downplay our citizens who are there.

Whether you support of oppose what the military is doing, they still deserve our gratitude and thanksgiving. When you see a person in uniform this weekend, take a moment and say thank you for protecting our freedom both here and abroad.

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