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Honoring veterans should not be reserved for national holidays

This week I had the pleasure and joy of sitting in on the Wilmore City Council meeting and hearing Vietnam veteran Fred Keeley’s story of his time serving our great country.
His story brought me great joy, but also sadness, as he relayed the tale of going into hiding once he returned from the war. It made me think of all the great men and women who serve our nation and what a shame it is for us as Americans to ever shame them in any way for their unselfish desire to put their country and citizens first and pledge to honor and protect us all, regardless of if they ever receive the thanks they deserve.
I was not alive when the Vietnam war happened. Although, there isn’t a week that goes by I don’t think about 9/11 and the events that brought many of our men and woman to a war in Iraq.
I know the two different circumstances are incomparable, as I believe all war is, but I remember standing with groups of people and living under a government on the West Coast that shamed our country’s decision to become involved.
Regardless of your views on if we should or should not be involved in any act of violence, the men and women who stand up to protect us when they are called to do so should never be talked down upon.
They are the purest form of unselfishness in this world, and Todd Gooch said it right Monday night when he quoted the Bible, “Greater love has no man than this than one would lay down his life for his friend.”
Tuesday morning, I was approached by a representative of Camp Nelson for the upcoming Memorial Day celebration and it dawned on me what a great time of year we are going into with many national and local events to honor our veterans.
I hope Fred Keeley’s story is just the beginning, as we all gather over Memorial Day and Fourth of July in remembrance of those who died protecting us and our independence.
We all don’t typically take the time to stop and thank a veteran for their service as we rush around in our every day life, but this time of year, as we gather for many approaching holidays, if we stop and listen we will hear some amazing stories of the men and woman who have gone before us in battle. Stories that should be remembered, retold and cherished from men and women who deserve nothing more than our utmost respect and thanks.
I am honored to be an American. I am even more honored to have the freedom I have, the liberties I cherish and the breath in my lungs from many people I know well and have lost who have stood to protect my freedom.
Not just on Memorial Day or Fourth of July, but every day, I give thanks for the men and woman who pledge to serve our great nation and hope you will all join me in doing the same.

Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.