FOCUS: Salute To Our Veterans 2021


November 11th is a very special day in America. Veterans of all wars, conflicts and commitment to their country will be saluted for their service. Veterans Day will be celebrated all over the country with parades, special services and celebrations. Thousands and thousands of men and women have given their lives for our freedom in the United States and around the world. We must never forget the sacrifices of those men and women who have kept us free.

Veterans Day was proclaimed in 1919 to commemorate the termination of World War I on November 11, 1918. Fighting stopped at 11 a.m., the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  On the first anniversary of the truce, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation eulogizing fallen allied soldiers and referring to November 11 as Armistice Day. It became a holiday in the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Canada. The holiday acquired its present name in 1954 and its significance expanded to honor those who served in World War II (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953). Today, the holiday honors all veterans for their service to America. In Canada, it is celebrated as Remembrance Day and in the United Kingdom, as Remembrance Sunday.

We Americans take our freedom for granted and need to be reminded that freedom comes with a huge price. Not all soldiers come home, not all soldiers are lucky to come home without wounds, loss of limbs and wounds of the heart and mind. Men and women of all walks of life have given their time, talents, and lives so that we might hold elections, are able to speak our minds, worship as we choose and live the way we wish to live. We are so blessed to live in America. We owe our veterans and those who are serving all over the world the honor they deserve as they continue to fight for our freedom and the freedoms of others around the world.

We must pray for our leaders throughout the country to make the right decisions for America. We need to pray for our friends and neighbors all over the world, to pray for our churches and to pray for each other. Prayer is taking our thoughts, concerns, joys, fears and blessings to a higher power, God, who can help solve any problems. Now is the time to pray for our country and for our service men and women. This is a time for all Americans to work together and let politics be put aside. Now is the time to remember all of those who served our country so that we can be free to disagree but to work agreeably to make our country the place our forefathers planned and dreamed for it to be. Now is the time for us to ask God to bless our country and to help us resolve our differences. Now is the time for our legislatures to put country first and be Americans not Republicans or Democrats. Now is the time for us to pray that our leaders talk and work together. Now is the time for us to watch and listen to the decisions our Senators and Congressmen are making. We the people can question, speak out and vote when we feel our government is not making progress. Every voice counts. We owe this freedom to the men and women who fought for our country to keep democracy alive. “Thank You” Veterans! Military men and women continue to serve America all over the world. We salute you and pray for your safety.

For those who do not think Veterans Day is a special day to honor those in the past, present and future, take the time to learn about Veterans Day. Veterans Day is one of the most precious celebrations we have in the United States of America. Take the time to look at the American flags as you drive around. The American flag is a symbol of our freedom. We should have pride and respect to see the stars and stripes blowing in the wind.  Our flag is a symbol of all those who worked so hard to be sure that our flag, our country, and our people remain free for all to see. Patriotism should be in our hearts, our minds, our efforts, and our example for all.

November 11th is a special day to celebrate our Veterans in Buckhannon and Upshur County as many of them will ride or walk from the Gibson Library up Main Street turning left on to Kanawha Street and then onto Friendly Way, ending in Jawbone Park with a short program by the American Legion Post #7 and VFW. The parade begins at 9:00 a.m. A Veterans’ Dinner will also be offered until 1 p.m. If you have, or know of a man or woman who has given their time to serve our country, tell them how proud and thankful you are. If you can, go through Jawbone Park and see how many of the hundreds of service men and women answered the calling. There are many who still serve today. Thank You for your service. Thank you to all those who take the time to put up the banners for us to see. The task takes much time and energy. We really appreciate your time and the many banners of our loved ones who are there for us to see and respect.

I am repeating the true story of a teacher’s plan to let her class know how important our Veterans and Military are to our country. I hope it touches your heart as it touched mine. Maybe it will be a story some have not read about.

During the month of September of 2006, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a Social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, Martha removed all the desks out of her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room, they discovered that there were no desks. “Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?” She replied, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.” The students thought “Well maybe it’s our grades.” “No,” she said. “Maybe it’s our behavior.” She told them, “No it’s not even your behavior.” And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period.  No desks were in the classroom. By early afternoon, television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room. The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom. Martha Cothren said, “Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.” At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.

Twenty-seven U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Veterans began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place, the students started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned. Martha said, “You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks.  These heroes did it for you. Now it is up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.”

We must never forget the sacrifices many have given for the love of our country.  “THANK YOU”

The thought for the day.   What our children are taught will be the future of America!

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