Thank and honor a veteran every day of the year

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

While I obviously take pride in my work here at the Monticello Express, interviewing veterans is one thing I not only take pride in, but I cherish. 

You see, I am a product of the military. Both of my parents served in the U.S. Army, my mom doing so just after she graduated from high school in the ‘70s. It’s ingrained in me to respect our veterans, to thank them for their service, and to honor them for their sacrifice. 

Local celebrated veteran Clyde Meyer spoke over the weekend at the Monticello Heritage & Cultural Center. The Center held a special Veterans Day ceremony, and the house was packed! But Meyer said something that I’ve always felt was true. He said all veterans deserve distinction and honor, no matter if they served and fought overseas, served during a war or conflict, or served stateside. I strongly agree. 

A veteran is a veteran whether they physically fought for our freedoms or whether they enlisted and served their entire career in the United States. They all signed their name on the dotted line and recited the Oath of Enlistment saying they solemnly swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” 

I can’t tell you how many veterans I’ve interviewed regarding their trip to Washington, D.C. as part of the Honor Flight program. The most recent was Glenn Tobiason, a Vietnam veteran. Tobiason spoke about the welcome-home celebration and many thanks he received upon his return home from D.C. That was definitely not the warm wishes Tobiason received when he came home from serving in Vietnam. It was hard listening to Tobiason speak about the harsh treatment of our soldiers following Vietnam. 

Treatment of soldiers like that today would be unspeakable. Whether you agree or not with the government’s decision to go to war or to enter into conflict with another nation or region of our world, those men and women are doing their job. They agreed to protect and defend our nation, not to serve for or against a political party. 

Also during the Heritage Center’s Veterans Day program, Kim Tauke with Quilts of Valor urged people to get to know their fellow veterans, learn their stories. 

That’s another big part of why I thoroughly enjoy interviewing veterans, so people can read their stories. It can be hard for some veterans, depending on their service, to speak about what they went through during their military career. I just hope I can be that “voice” for them. 

My sister and I are proud to be “military brats.” We are proud of our father’s Army Reserve career of 20-plus years, and our mom’s four years in the Army. She is most definitely someone we look up to, doing something in the ‘70s that wasn’t necessarily something ideal or popular for a woman to do at the time. Our mom grew up on a farm in rural Delaware County. Her service allowed her to see the world. (She was stationed in South Korea during peacetime in the Vietnam-era.) 

While we have a designated Veterans Day every year on Nov. 11. However, we should be thanking, honoring and remembering our veterans 24/7 365 days of the year. Their sacrifice gave us the freedoms we take for granted.


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