Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Let's Make This Right

A letter from the editor

Last Friday, just before we closed for the weekend, a handsome, shy young man came into the Sun-Telegraph office carrying a box that he quietly informed me was a gift. Turns out that it was a sampler box from a local business, Savor & Grace, and it was filled with all kinds of charcuterie delights. I was appreciative of the gift, delighted by the contents (seriously, it was SO delicious!) and inspired by the sheer warmth and neighborliness of the gesture. I lived in NYC for a number of years, this is something that just would not occur there. Ever. It reinforced why I love living in a small rural community.

On the flip side, with balance being all that it is, I recently had cause to be extremely disappointed in this community. I received a “Letter to the Editor”, which has been printed below, that left me heartbroken and honestly, more than a little bit angry.

Most people are aware of Veterans Day. They will go out of their way to post “Happy Veterans Day” cartoons on their Facebook profiles, puritanically declare their patriotic side by sharing inspirational memes, or post photos of their own Veterans. But what about every other day of the year?

To leave one’s friends and family to serve notates a caliber of strength that is simply unmatched by other careers. To stand at the front lines, facing an enemy that you may or may not even be able to see indicates dedication and a strength of heart unparalleled by anything else. The service these men and women have provided should be recognized each and every day. The sacrifices that they have faced should never be overlooked. By its very definition, a veteran is a person who took an oath to defend the rest of us, wherever and whenever threats arise. And since most of those threats arise from outside of the United States, they are most commonly deployed to serve and to fight in some of the world’s most dangerous locations. Combat aside, in the name of protecting us, there are months upon months spent away from family and friends. It is not an easy road to travel.

The author of the letter to the editor, in my mind, suffered a double whammy. He is a Vietnam War Veteran. There were no grand homecomings for them. In fact, they experienced quite the opposite. And on Military Appreciation Day at this year’s county fair, he went hoping to garner even a little appreciation. His words regarding this broke my heart. I literally choked on a tear reading it.

We really dropped the ball on this one, Cheyenne County.

Next time you see someone wearing a military uniform, take just a few seconds out of your day to thank them. I get it may feel awkward to go up to a total stranger and ask to shake their hand, or to hesitate in offering up a “Thank You for what you did for me” to someone you don’t even know. But keep in mind what they did for a country full of strangers in the name of freedom. A few seconds of uncomfortability isn’t going to kill you, and it may mean the world to them.

So. Let’s do right by this Veteran. I will be taking him out to dinner this Friday, Aug. 11 at 6 pm at Dudes. You, our readers and the community at large, are invited and encouraged to join us (dutch treat of course. I love our readers but my pockets aren’t THAT deep). Even if you don’t stay to eat and only stop by the table to shake his hand and say “Thank you for your service”, the gesture would mean so much to him and will make you feel so good as well.

Our freedom doesn’t happen on just one day a year. Neither should thanking our veterans.


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