We are all entering a new year and a new decade! We have a lot of things to think about and accomplish in the next 10 years. Year 2020 is going to be very special for a lot of reasons, some of them we all know like: politics, military might, advances in health care and increased spiritual involvement. Other reasons for 2020 being a great year are far more personal: our aging, children and grandchildren maturing, family issues, our personal health matters and those of our loved ones. For me, 2020 looks like a good year for recognizing, respecting and honoring our veterans.
Think for a moment about what 2020 has meant for many years. I wear glasses that improve my eyesight to 2020. Therefore the eyesight measure 2020 is close to as good as your eyesight can get!
Just how does this year and our eyesight affect veterans? Think about it. One of the biggest problems that veterans face is the inability or unwillingness of the general population in seeing veterans for what they were (military personnel), what they are now (an underserved group) and what they will be (older and possibly still underserved). Simply thinking about 2020 the year and 2020 the eyesight goal means that we all should be able to look for, see and recognize our veterans.
Speaking honestly, have you always been able to say you have seen our veterans and appreciated their contributions to our society? Most people don’t think about veterans, except possibly on Veterans Day when they get a day off from work. Most people don’t read special information about veterans and their needs. Most people don’t have a heart-to-heart conversation with their children about just who veterans are, just what they have done and just why they deserve our respect and our appreciation. It is sad to say that for many people, the word “veteran” has no significant meaning at all.
Back to this New Year and a time for resolutions and projected old habits changing and new habits adopting. Why not, right now, resolve to put veterans and their families higher on your list of prioritized things for which to share some concern. You will be doing a very good thing that our former fighters did for you when they went into harm’s way to protect and defend our American way of life.
Every time you see the numbers 2020, think about having the good vision to spot our veterans and the good judgement to remember their sacrifices and the good heart to say something like: “Thanks for your service” or “Welcome Home.” You may never know how much veteran men and women appreciate these simple attaboys or attagirls.
We will soon be restarting our Library Information Tables. I will have solid information in next week’s NJN. I hope you will spend some time with us veterans on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at either the Gardendale Public Library or the Fultondale Public Library. I will be there along with other veterans like Zach Burton (of Vet2Vet/Makewaycafe) Ron Becker (of the Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 416, Jim Parola of the upcoming Gardendale Farmers Market (in the summer), Benny Reeves (a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer in our Navy) Perry Wilson, Bill Carter, a Veterans Administration volunteer, Sam, Ed and John Pinion (VA Outreach Coordinator) and possibly YOU in the future.
May God richly bless and make 2020 the best year yet for our country, our leaders, our military, our veterans, our first responders (law enforcers, firefighters, EMTs, teachers and clergy) and most of all YOU!!!
Gerald “Joe” Stahlkuppe is a combat Army veteran of the Vietnam War. An ordained clergyman, public speaker and author of several books, he lives with his wife in Gardendale.
Questions or veterans issues you would like to see addressed in the column can be directed to Stahlkuppe at P.O. Box 849, Gardendale, AL 35071 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.