Veterans fought and died by the thousands to protect our rights and to allow us to live in a free country. They were proud of our country and all of the things we made right here in the USA to take care of the people and keep them safe. When I collect oral histories from our wonderful veterans in their homes and at the VA, I feel like it is a sacred time. Many say they are afraid for our country especially in the last 4 years because of the way people, especially our young, don’t understand how fortunate they are to live in America.
Some say that companies don’t take pride in the words Made in the USA because they are more interested in profit. Talking to one man named George about WWII, he said “We fought for our children and our children’s children so they would not have to suffer the terror of war and poverty.” He went on to say, “Our people are smart. I pray that they are not traded for the bottom line or bigger profits…everyone just needs to realize that we really have enough …we just waste too much. We wouldn’t be in this problem now if we hadn’t been duped by the desire to do things cheaper and let our supply lines and medicines be in the hands of countries that would like to see America crash and burn.”
We are losing our brave Veterans by the hundreds so rapidly there will not be any left to share their first-hand knowledge on America. Just three weeks ago I went back to see my friend George and found that he had passed in April. I sat outside on the beautiful grounds of Mountain Home VA and cried for George. I thought we would have more time…wonderful hours of listening to his thoughts, beliefs and stories.
George taught me a lot and I want to encourage others especially young people to seek out veterans and elders and listen intently to their stories. I remember when the Veterans were invited into the schools to talk to the kids about this wonderful country, we call America. They would explain the importance of standing up for your freedoms because if we don’t, they will be gone in a blink of an eye.
I know this Positive Points is a little heavy but I felt that I wanted to share one more time about George. Have a blessed Memorial Day and think about all the freedoms we have that many countries don’t.
Linda Poland is Jonesborough’s resident storyteller.