Staff Editorial: Honor the veterans, know who they are
Despite the fact we are in a war, there are a lot of people who don't even seem to know what a veteran is. They seem to just think that people who serve in the armed forces have a job just like theirs and it is nothing special.
My brother-in-law was a lifer in the Army, and he told me once that in many ways, during peace time, his job was just like any other job. However, other than first responders that serve our communities, few of us could be called up by our jobs to go within a short time somewhere far or near to risk our lives in defense of innocent people and our country.
Regardless of how a person feels about the present situation we find ourselves in, veterans and personnel currently serving our country, should get the highest regard from all of us for the job they do or have done in the past.
And sometimes, the biggest tributes come from those that are the most innocent amongst us.
Recently Mario DiCaro, the local commander of the American Legion was in my office and we were talking about veterans and how we can honor them. DiCaro told me a story that brought tears to my eyes.
Last fall, after doing the graveside services for a fallen veteran one afternoon, he and the men who conducted the 21 gun salute went to a local fast food restaurant to have some coffee together.
As they sat there talking, a little three year old boy came up to the table they were at and stared at them. He didn't say anything and kept wandering around the place and circling them. A little while later he was joined by a sister who was somewhat older and they both kept circling the men who were dressed in their uniforms.
Finally, the little girl poked the little boy in the ribs and said "Go ahead, ask them."
The little fella came up to the men's table and looked them in the eyes.
"Are you guys veterans?" he asked.
The men amused by the little boys question answered in the affirmative, and the little boy took off and headed back for the table where his family was seated. The men chuckled and smiled as he ran away.
As they talked, the men got caught up in their conversation. However, the next thing they knew the little boy was back at their table with a pen and pad in hand. They smiled at him.
"Would you guys give me your autographs?" the little boy asked as he flashed a big grin at them.
DiCaro said there wasn't a dry eye at the table after they had signed the little boys pad and he had walked away.
Our country can honor professional athletes and movie stars who make millions of dollars a year. They can honor those that start and grow businesses. They can honor writers, painters and sculptors, whose works bring us joy and sorrow. But that little boy was the only one that got it truly right by asking a simple question.
These men and those like them are our true heroes and that little boy, with a simplicity and pureness of heart few of us have, knew it.