Salute our veterans

Published 2:46 am Tuesday, November 11, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
Attending Monday’s Veterans Day programs at Perdido and Escambia Academy brought back memories of attending my own school’s program.
I remember preparing for the event for weeks, making patriotic crafts and writing essays just like the children here did.
Our guest of honor was a veteran, Mr. Corley, who was a POW for years. He spoke of his ordeal at length, I’m sure sparing us young school children the gruesome details, and I remember listening to him in awe of what he had been through.
To me, as a young girl, his story seemed both full of adventure and horror.
Speaking with faculty members at Perdido, over and over again I was told how important it is to educate and instill in children today a sense of respect and pride for their veterans.
I eagerly nodded my head in agreement, remembering being taught these same values while I was in school, and knowing that Mr. Corley’s story wasn’t only one of adventure, but of sacrifice for me and my family and friends and everyone I knew in this country.
It is so critical to teach children about the sacrifices our service men and women make and to teach them to be appreciative of them, no matter what you think of the war or the government.
One veteran I was speaking to asked if I had had much opportunity to spend time around veterans. I told him I had not and he replied, “These are the best people you’ll ever be around.”
I smiled and agreed.
Two of the best people I know are currently serving in the military. Both my cousin and one of my best friends are overseas serving in the Army.
Stephen is in Korea and Brad is in Iraq.
I remember asking them both not to go and thinking why now would you sign up, but in speaking with them they’ve both told me they felt it was there duty and a privilege.
Thanks to today’s technology I speak to them both frequently, but when speaking to them I always try and keep things normal and positive, never wanting to direct attention to the sacrifices they have made.
Stephen’s father, my Uncle Jay, has been battling pancreatic cancer since Stephen has been gone, and having a parent with an illness myself, I know the difficulties of being away from them when they’re sick.
Brad is married with a baby due in December and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be here for the actual delivery.
These sacrifices are what I try not to talk about, but are why I am so thankful and so proud of them for being there.
I don’t know if I’ve ever taken the time to say thank you and tell them how proud I am of them, but I guess I always feel like its understood.
This is why I am so thankful for Veterans Day, because it makes all of us remember to say thank you and remember the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms.
So, to Stephen, Brad and all of our men and women who are defending our freedoms, thank you and God bless you.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at

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