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Honor our soldiers

November 9, 2012
Estherville Daily News

This year, Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, making the day of observance Monday for some people.

In Estherville, area ministers have been encouraged to offer a message on behalf of our veterans while in Armstrong the Veterans Day program will be held at 9 a.m. at North Union High School.

Traditionally, Veterans Day has been observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to coincide with the World War I Armistice.

Whichever day you choose to observe Veterans Day, we encourage you to observe it.

Today, we have as much of a reason as ever to observe. As more and more World War II veterans pass on each day, their stories slip away like smoke from a recently cleared battlefield. Fortunately, many families and groups have taken the time to record their stories for posterity.

Beyond World War II, we also have veterans of Korea and Vietnam, the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.

If you have veterans in your family, we encourage you to sit down with them and write down their stories. Tape it, write it down, do whatever you have to, but whatever you do, get it down.

This isn't to glorify war or heroic acts, because there is never glory in war - for either side. Rather, it's a way to record history.

All too often, the history of wars is written by generals and the top brass, not by the soldiers who actually fought them. It's the stories of the grunts in the trenches and foxholes that really need to be recorded. They're the ones who saw war firsthand, and that's why we need to tell their stories. Because once they're gone, their stories will be too.

Getting your veteran's story can be cathartic, too. It can be a way to get him or her to open up after decades and say what it was like, offering a sense of relief that others finally know too.

So gather those stories. And if you're a veteran, offer to tell your story. Maybe you weren't in the front lines or on recon. Maybe you worked in an office or as quartermaster. Those stories are important, too, because they're all a part of the story of soldiering, a story too big for any one soldier to tell.

So let's tell those stories.

And then let's listen.



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