It should never be one day – Veterans Day, that is. After all, soldiers didn’t march off for one day to protect our country. But, many take the gift of freedom for granted and won’t even give this coming Monday, Nov. 11, a second thought of why it is a national holiday. A little history here. Veterans Day was first known as Armistice Day, and was established on Nov. 11, 1919, representing the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Then Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observation. but it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a national holiday. For those who have or are serving and are fortunate to make it home in one piece, they walk amongst us as a representation of what the price of freedom costs and every day live for their comrades who came back either maimed physically or mentally, or arrive back to the states in a body bag. If you ever want to see what these fellow Americans have done for you, visit a veterans hospital or stop to observe a veterans cemetery. For miles, all you see are white headstones, each one a presentation of the price of freedom. That’s why every veteran should be welcomed with open arms, entitled to all the benefits this great country can provide and as Americans, no one should ever kneel when the national anthem is played and the flag is flying. We should stand tall, hand over our hearts, eyes on the flag, and pay our military the respect they so rightfully deserve. Because of their sacrifice, you have freedom that every day you take for granted. So, as I have in the past, I will leave you with this poem written in 2004 by U.S. Army veteran Charles M. Providence. I think this is the best tribute to our veterans. “It is the soldier, not the minster, who has given us freedom of religion. It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the freedom to a fair trial. It is the soldier, not the politicians, who has given us the right to vote. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestors to burn the flag.” Please, this Veterans Day, and actually make it every day if you see a veteran, thank them for their service, and add it’s because of you that I have my freedom. God bless our military, our veterans who walk every day amongst us, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. You may be gone, but in the hearts of every true American, you will never be forgotten.
If you missed Secret Santa Bingo, then you missed a great night – Last Saturday night, Anne and Ken Paul, of PROPAC, hosted the bingo to raise money to help the less fortunate families in our neighborhood have a good Christmas. I was fortunate to be part of it and I must say, we truly had a packed house. There were 45 baskets that people had a chance to win, and they were beautiful, along with a sports memorabilia table and a liquor table. The bingo ran so smoothly, the prizes were exceptional. I worked Spin the Wheel, along with my sidekick Anita, which gave you a chance to win a gift certificate to one of our local businesses. Anita and I watched the dollars go down, and yelled ”three, two, one,” to which the crowd yelled, “Spin that wheel,” and spin it we did. We had a blast. A special mention to Rose, who made the delicious food that we had. A special shout out to all the volunteers, but mostly to the organizer of it all, Anne. She worked tirelessly, making sure everybody was happy, and everything was just so. By the end of the night, that girl could just about walk but never once did she complain about her fatigue. All done, so she and Ken can provide a Christmas for our less fortunate neighbors. I would like to say thank you to everyone who came out, even my girlfriend, Judy, who traveled up from Cape May and just was amazed at the turnout. I would like to thank all the businesses that gave me the gift certificates without an ounce of hesitation. You are the backbone that makes this community strong. It just was a beautiful affair.