Ceremony for profit, not respect
This is in response to the article "Veterans Deserve Our Appreciation" in the Hartselle Enquirer on Nov. 17.
I could not agree with you more. Since most Americans no longer have a direct link to the real cost of freedom, Veterans seem to be a forgotten lot. The current active duty military forces are on average no longer a cross section of America. The majority of today's military is made up of America's middle class and down. This has been true since the elimination of the draft.
Perhaps, the reason veterans are a forgotten lot is they are not well organized. Too many just sit on the sidelines and let someone else do the fighting for their benefits. Veterans in general need to get up off their derriere and be counted. You fought for your country, now it's time to stand up and fight for yourself.
The veterans since the Vietnam War have not been joiners of veterans organizations. As an individual you have no clout in the Congress or Senate. When you have only a few veterans contacting elected officials, they do not listen. When you have millions contacting them, they listen. This is why it's important for a veteran to join and becomes active in a veteran's organization. A veterans organization gives you some clout in the Senate and Congress. Also, you must remember, the majority of our elected officials have not served in the military nor do they have a family member on active duty or in harms way. The military is "Out of sight, out of mind."
Let us examine the reason I believe veterans from the Vietnam War and beyond do not join veterans organizations. When most of us came back from Vietnam the only people other than family to greet us were the protesters. They spat on us, threw garbage at us and called us all kinds of names. Where were the veterans organizations? You would have thought they would have turned out to greet us when there was such turmoil in our country. But it was not the thing to do. Now they want these same veterans to join their organization.
Veterans seem to be remembered on only two days of the year. Memorial Day, when we honor all departed veterans and Veterans Day, when we honor all living veterans. Veterans should be honored every day of the year. The Hartselle City Council can not remember to even give veterans an honorable mention on the two days set aside to honor Veterans (and two of the council members are veterans). Even the local clergymen giving the invocation at the Hartselle Council meetings can not find it in their heart to thank the veterans on these two days of the year for the religious freedom we have in the United States. So, how can we expect the average Joe Citizen to remember veterans?
If you'd like to attend a ceremony that truly honors veterans, I would suggest you attend the Veterans Day ceremony put on by Hartselle Junior High School or the Veterans Day ceremony at the Morgan County Courthouse in Decatur.
When a commercial retailer puts on a Veterans Day service it's not done with the true intent of honoring veterans but to line the pockets of the retailer. They expect people will show up for the event and shop. If the retailer was truly a veterans advocate, the retailer would donate all of the profits from this event to veterans organizations, state veterans homes and to the Veterans Administration for veterans health care. Every year Veterans Administration healthcare runs short of funding and must turn away veterans from its doors that have earned the right to be treated by the VA healthcare system.
Using this ploy of a veterans service by a retailer to generate store profits is despicable. I, for one, hope that veterans do not fall for such a ploy. I am glad most veterans do not participate in these types of veterans services, for this only cheapens the status of veterans. Merchants seem to exploit the veterans to line their pockets. All you seem to see is "Veterans Day Sale" pasted on all the storefronts. Veterans fought for your right to be free and now you want them to line your pockets.
Perhaps, all of the local retail merchants might give their employees time off to join in honoring veterans instead of exploiting them.
Gene Aittala, USN Retired
Writer vows to keep Christmas merry
It seems that many corporations with whom we, as Christians, spend our money are encouraging their employees to greet us as customers with "Happy Holidays" rather than with "Merry Christmas." It seems that they are encouraging their employees to greet us with this generic greeting so as not to offend those who do not celebrate Christmas.
Do they not realize that the majority of the customers who are in their stores are spending money for Christmas gifts?
Millions upon millions of dollars are spent in this country for Christmas gifts! Do they not realize that we love hearing "Merry Christmas"?
Do they not realize that we are the majority?
Do you remember that some of these same "people" voted to take prayer out of our schools, to have "In God We Trust" taken off our money and "Under God" removed from our Pledge of Allegiance?
For way too many years, I have listened to way too many people say that if we as Christians had taken a stand and fought the prayer-in-schools issue, perhaps it would not have been taken from us.
I suppose that I am not politically correct. In a few short days, I will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who was born into this world in a manger, who was crucified on a cruel cross but who rose from the grave three days later!
He rose from that grave declaring victory over hell so that I could enjoy life everlasting in a glorious place called Heaven even though I deserve to go to a devil's hell.
He paid a debt that He did not owe, because I owed a debt that I could not pay.
Please don't be offended when I say "Merry Christmas" or "God Bless You." Be offended by those who don't. The United States of America was founded on everything Christian but on nothing atheistic.
Merry Christmas and may God richly bless you!
Carol M. Hardin