By Shad Alsworth, Town of Wellsville Supervisor
I grew up in this country at a time when those of my generation all had a grandparent, uncle, sibling, or close family friend that had served the armed forces in one of the many global conflicts since 1900. Veterans were our teachers, our coaches, our political leaders and the most respected individuals in our society. We studied their sacrifices in our schools and showed our respect by reciting the pledge of allegiance daily and by standing in humble respect as we sang the national anthem at every major sporting event.
We all knew a vet that had sacrificed limbs, showed us their scars from shrapnel and/or bullets, or suffered daily with the effects of agent orange. I remember the screams at night as sleep was replaced by nightmares of their worst experiences. I always was amazed by the portrayed strength of those men and woman followed by the most disheartening glare as I would ask of their experiences in war. Our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors continued the tradition of service as we watched them protect democracy abroad in the Persian Wars and Afghanistan conflicts along with countless training missions and deployments around the world.
Today we stand in a nation divided by beliefs in political rhetoric and intentional disrespect for the Christian values that have made this country so great. We watch as our leaders challenge our Freedoms, disregard our Constitution and aim to divide us rather than unite. We watch as our educators worry about telling the truths of our countries past while struggling to honor those who served to protect us.
The answer to healing, knowledge, accountability for actions, and respect for others lies in the teachings that our veterans are best suited to give. Veterans have learned best how to work with and respect people of every race, creed and political and/or financial background. Your ability to take direction, respect those around you, and strive to accomplish your mission at all costs makes you the best of our society.
As if you haven’t done enough for our Country, I beg you to infuse yourself into the lives of our youth and humbly ask for one last commitment to service……Veterans…. please tell your stories….our youth must hear them in order to understand how fragile their Freedom really is.
From the depths of my soul, I thank you for your service!!!!