One of the most common complaints that arises at our weekly Veteran Information Tables is the feeling that many veterans have that many of the rest of our population doesn’t really care about veterans at all. While I certainly hope this is not true, I suspect it is truer than I might want it to be.
I make a point on some of my shopping trips and visits around North Jefferson County to wear something (a hat, tee shirt, lanyard, etc.) that points out my veteran status. Many other veterans do the same thing. We aren’t looking for unanimous acclaim, but want to:
Let other Veterans know who we are
Show our pride in being Veterans to anyone we might meet.
I can understand anti-veteran feelings back in the 1960’s and early ‘70’s when the Vietnam War was such a hot and controversial topic. We Veterans of that time dealt with this hostility as well as we could. Truthfully, some handled this attitude better than others, but handle it we did!
Later times and tempers cooled and veterans relaxed and the Canadian-runner-chickens came home and we moved on, individually and as a society. Ultimately, other wars came along and Veterans my age (70+) began to gray and become more reticent about who did what to whom in the earlier decades. Vietnam became a fading memory for most of those who never went there.
I found some quotes to share that relate to what I am talking about:
“For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
President Dwight D. Eisenhower put it this way: “There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”
This past week, we celebrated the 205 anniversary of the writing of Francis Scot Key’s time-honored poem, “The Star Spangled Banner” which went set to music became our beloved National Anthem. One part of the last stanza is not often stressed. “Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land; Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!”
Benjamin Franklin poem-wrote: “In submission to God’s will and the laws of nature, may be found the tranquility of mind that brings peace and contentment as the night comes on.”
This week we are also celebrating the founding our United States Air Force. Any USAF veteran visitor at our Info Table will receive two special ballpoint pens! God Bless the USAF!
We have two more Thursdays for the Veteran Info Table to be at the Farmers Market at the Gardendale Civic Center. We will be there tomorrow from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., everyone is invited and all Veterans and family members that visit with us will receive a special Veteran-oriented ballpoint pin. Sr. Chief Petty Officer, Benny Reeves will not be with us, but Jim Parola, Zach Burton (of Vet2Vet) and others will be there to care and to share.
Please come by and see us. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!
May God bless our veterans, our country, our leaders, our military, our first responders and most of all, may God bless 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.