Published 10:25 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Today, as we once again near the recognition of Veteran’s Day, I stood in front of a page from the Atlanta Journal as it is displayed on a wall in our home. The date in the upper hand-corner of the full page is Sunday, August 23, 1942 and the bolden headline reads: “Here are more of the Georgians who have gone to fight for their country.” This page has been in our family since my grandparents proudly first received their paper on Antioch Church Road south of Climax in 1943 as their son, according to the information below his picture, was serving in the “Army, Abroad.” Pictured on this page are more than fifty young men from each corner of Georgia and sons from farm families to financial leaders, alongside my father’s picture from those many years ago is another young man from Bainbridge, Ray James serving in the “Navy, At Sea.”
As we remember family members each year who have served in each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces since the 1700’s, we also give thanks to those other young men and women and their families with their commitment to ensuring a safer world.
And, as strange as it sounds in today’s often negative commentaries, we are blessed that news sources have been protected through generations in America with the ability to distribute news and information such that we each may have information to form our own opinions. I have often wonder what happened to those young men from that newspaper article in 1943 – how many returned home safely, how many paid the extreme sacrifice, did many enjoy a full life and have the opportunity stand at attention in Willis Park only a few weeks before his death at the age of 93 as the young trumpeter once again played Taps as another list of names was solemnly read of deceased veterans? Many questions, most of which will remain unanswered, yet those names from 1943 remain sacred because of that single newspaper article. These young men provided the protection such that we could all enjoy the freedom of information.
On this Thursday, whether you are in Willis Park, the privacy of your backyard, sitting on a tractor seat, or in a classroom, take a moment and remember those who have served or are now serving our country. We are the fortunate one’s because of their service.