• Sandy Turner: Thanking those who protect our freedom

  •  I’ve said it before but I will continue to say it – every day should be Veterans Day.

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  • I’ve said it before but I will continue to say it – every day should be Veterans Day.
    The news has been overloaded with politics. It makes me angry they even managed to turn the deaths of four Americans who were killed in Benghazi into a political talking point. The election is over, the war is not.
    Nearly 5,000 service men and women have lost their lives in this war. They tell us the number of wounded is 30,000, but does that count the thousands whose wounds are emotional?
    The one memory Dad held onto the longest was his time as a pilot in World War II. He couldn’t tell you his name, my name or where he was, but could recount stories of bombing missions with precision. I knew they were accurate, as I had memorized them as he told these war stories on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. When he’d cry, I’d comfort him with my words and reassurance those days are long gone. These memories aren’t engrained into his brain because they were the best days of his life.
    Defending our country while fighting for their lives is not something I can grasp. All I can do is give my praise, respect and most importantly, my thanks. I just wish our thank you’s for our veterans would come more often than once a year.
    Having heard about a vet in need, someone she’s never met, my boyfriend’s daughter sprung into action. She and her fiancé have befriended a vet who will greet another winter, wondering if it will be his last. When she asked him what he needed, his response wasn’t food, warm blankets or a coat. This man, who fought for our freedom, put his life on the line for our rights, just wants company.
    As a young veteran herself, she understands the bond those in the military share. It’s an understanding that goes deeper than life itself. After her visit with him she cried for his loneliness, although she knows she will be back again. Reaching out to someone you have never met takes a true sense of compassion, which she is overflowing with.
    For many of us, reaching out to a veteran is just a matter of turning to our spouse, family member or friend. Do we actually take the time to thank them, even on Veterans Day?
    And for those who are serving in the military right now, the nearly 5,000 families who have lost a loved one in this war, how do we thank them?
    For starters we could make darn sure our military men and women have a job when they return home. How about covering their bills while they’re gone? Is it really OK for many of them to go bankrupt or their house forced into foreclosure because they’re fighting for our continued freedom?
    Page 2 of 2 - I often tell Dad now proud I am to be a veteran’s daughter, and he may or may not understand, as his words are now of a language only he can understand. We are all surrounded by veterans, some young, old, happy, sad, lonely or wounded physically and emotionally.
    My heartfelt thanks to each of you, not just on Veterans Day, but every day.
    Sandy Turner lives in Independence. You can reach her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com.

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