Editorial: Some Reflections on Veterans Day

This majestic bald eagle was seen last weekend just off River Road near the Taftsville Covered Bridge. (Rick Russell Photo)

Honor our Veterans in a ceremony and parade in Woodstock, Saturday, 11am in the Village.

Older and younger generations working together and learning from each other is a special concept, and one that enriches the community.
That’s a concept that could be seen first-hand in the photos of the Poppy project, the Thompson Senior Center’s recent effort which uses artwork to honor veterans. Several high school students joined in on the project, which will be unveiled today at 11:45 a.m., as part of a Veterans Day ceremony at the senior center.
That’s one of many examples of people of all ages coming together to recognize this very important tradition of honoring those who have defended our country and protected our freedoms. The various Veterans Day events in the area this week, along with the community-wide assembly at WUHS today and the Veterans Day services this week in Woodstock and Hartland, are opportunities for this concept to be seen in action again, and it’s so very important that it continues to be fostered by all.
Indeed, times have changed drastically in the recent decades. The biggest change is probably the fast-paced lifestyle many of us now live, which is embroiled in technology and dozens of other distractions. It can get a person stuck in the same routine, day in day out, making it hard to stop and think about what matters most.
This week, however, the community will get several chances to honor our veterans and reflect on their many sacrifices – a value that can often get lost in the rapid pace of today’s society.
Several veterans have mentioned their appreciation for events like the WUHS assembly, which does well at bringing together the students and the larger community for this special purpose. Perhaps those events can have the effect of bringing even more younger people out to help recognize the sacrifice of the veterans. Rodney Croft, the commander of the Ora E. Paul American Legion Post No. 24 in Woodstock, hopes that’s the case.
“There needs to be a lot of patriotism spread around this country; a lot of people are forgetting where freedom is coming from,” Croft said earlier this week. “Freedom is not free.”
There are many who have given their lives for our freedom, and there are many veterans still – this very day – who are working both here in the U.S. and abroad to preserve that liberty. Sometimes, these sacrifices aren’t as recognized as they should be, since so many of us are not on the front lines of the fight to protect our freedom.
As the American writer Cynthia Ozick wisely wrote, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
True as that is, it’s always important to take the steps to honor our veterans – not just on Veterans Day, but throughout the year. Every day, Vermonters and all Americans enjoy the freedoms the veterans fought to protect. And they should have our gratitude, every day.
These words from our Weathersfield column state perfectly the purpose of this important holiday: “Veterans Day is a day to remember and honor the selfless dedication of service members, men and women, who have boldly stood in harm’s way carrying the torch of freedom fighting to protect our abundant way of life.”
With that, we encourage everyone to join the community this week in honoring veterans and all they’ve done, and are doing, for our great nation.
– Gareth Henderson

This was published in the November 9, 2017 edition of the Vermont Standard.

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