Every day should be Veterans Day

Published 11:19 am Thursday, November 9, 2023

By Joanie Jasper

What’s up, Middlesboro?

Happy Veterans Day. Friday we celebrate all armed forces members. I think that this holiday does not get the attention it should. I think the members of our armed forces should be honored every day. I know that after 9/11 the support, recognition and thankfulness for our troops was everywhere, but that has almost disappeared again. Being from a military town and having been married to someone in the military for 23 years, I have seen first hand how much just a small gesture of appreciation means to them. On the flip-side I have witnessed the hurt (usually in silence) that they feel when people protest and speak against them.

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These men and woman put their lives in harms way so that we can be safe. What do you think our country would be like without their willingness to serve 24/7 365 days a year? I have been to other places around the world that do not have the security that we have. We have security that we don’t have to worry about, because it is always there. Today many people will not give a thought to what this day celebrates. Now they will enjoy the Veterans Day sales, but not take the time to share a thank you to the older gentleman walking in the shop with a veteran cap on. How hard is it to just share a thank you and I appreciate you.

Here are some sobering facts from uso.org:

“In 2021, research found that 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who served in the military after 9/11 have died by suicide, compared to the 7,057 service members killed in combat in those same 20 years. That is, military suicide rates are four times higher than deaths that occurred during military operations.”

Strips.com shared in an article this July that the Defense Suicide Prevention Office revealed in its quarterly report that the overall number of active-duty suicides — 94 — from January through March was up 25% compared to the number of troops — 75 — who took their own lives in the first three months of 2022.

I think many people have never even thought of these facts. Their struggle is real. They are taught that soldiers are strong and not to show weakness. Many of them never ask for help because they are worried about their jobs. Yes, you read that right — many of them will not reach out for help. That lack of help and having to continue to face the struggle alone soon becomes too much for so many. Many of these soldiers never even reach out to their families for help or support. They deal with all the struggles and hellish-reality they face all by themselves. Going back to my comment on a simple gesture of kindness to a veteran- it honestly could save a life.

I hope that you take some time to think about those words and make a conscious effort to make a difference. Our local veterans organization – Vets Serving Vets would be a great place for you to share your appreciation. Veterans do serve each other- they have a bond with each other that none of us will ever have with them. But, should it be just Vets Serving Vets? I think every US citizen needs to make time to serve a Veteran. I encourage you to think about what you can do for a veteran today.

Now on a lighter note here are some events happening in our area this month.

• Nov. 11, 1 p.m. — A Claiborne County Christmas, Main Street, Tazewell

• Nov. 11, 5:30 p.m. — Lighted Tractor Parade, Tazewell

• Nov. 11-12 — Fly Fishing Weekend- Pine Mountain State Park

• Nov. 18, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. — Christmas on Main Street – Raychel’s Sweet Treats

• Nov. 25 — Claiborne County Shop Small Saturday

• Nov. 30, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. — Candy Canes, Cocoa & Carols- Drive- thru Christmas,120 College Park Dr, London, KY

Let me leave you with these words from Nick Lampson: “But this Veterans Day, I believe we should do more than sing the praises of the bravery and patriotism that our veterans have embodied in the past. We should take this opportunity to re-evaluate how we are treating our veterans in the present.”

Send your questions and comments to – whatsupmiddlesboro@gmail.com.