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We thank God today for all of the veterans who came before us and will come after us.

Frances Scott Key wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” almost 200 years ago. He called America the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” That is what these veterans have fought for.

We are adding to a collection of photos and stories about service people. This includes stories from some of the first wars of our nation. At this time, they were poorly trained, furnished their own weapons, and some times, their uniforms. As I read or listened to these stories, I was touched by the love of America and their compassion for people of the world. I was teary eyed at the innocence shown in the eyes of young recruits who joined because of economic reasons. Some did not have the funds to return to college, or could not find jobs. Others had a chunk of their normal lives taken out and were sent away from their families and homes. Then, I remember the people they have become, and I see their pride as they stand tall and salute the flag as it passes by.

Throughout America’s history our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have always answered the call to defend our nation, to aid our friends and allies and to turn back aggressors. We cannot repay our debt of gratitude to our American service personnel who died in battle or those who were wounded. We can thank the 25 million veterans who are still living today.

Two years ago, I attended homecoming for Todd’s National Guard Unit in North Carolina. They were returning from two years active duty. I am still overcome with pride remembering their entrance into the armory. It was a group of service men and women, all ages, all races, all walks of life. They were marching briskly in, their heads up, very erect and the flags flying over it all. Little children were waving small flags and you could feel their pride in their family members. In his remarks, the commanding officer said that almost all in the Unit would go if called back because they believed in what they were doing. After the ceremony, soldiers carried small children and diaper bags, instead of weapons. You could feel the love of humanity, not just Americans.

Sarah was telling me about attending chapel service at Ft. Bragg and the love of God, America and family that was evident. “America, the Beautiful” was part of every service. The third verse was most meaningful to her.

O beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Show your love and appreciation to our veterans this week. Attend the special services, call them, send them a note and follow their example in showing pride in America.

This Week's Editorials:

By Helen Morris:

Wood Festival

By Lisa Minney:

A Steady Rain

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