Friday, November 11, 2005
I haven't had the opportunity to be a military veteran, though I have one grandpa who served in WWI and another who served in WWII.
But I am a veteran of covering school ceremonies honoring our veterans.
This week marked my sixth year covering the festivities, and every time I get goose bumps. The patriotic songs sung by young voices never get old.
Whether it was youngsters creating a living flag when I was in Cle Elum or Mabton kindergartners reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in unison yesterday, the veteran ceremonies always bring a smile.
And I think it's because the vets themselves take center stage.
It's likely that 364 days out of the year veterans go on about their daily chores like any regular Joe or Jane.
But one day a year, actually two since most school programs take place the day before Veteran's Day on Nov. 11, veterans young and old don their colors or VFW caps and jackets for all to see.
In Mabton, for example, I spied more than a few kindergartners and first graders staring in wide-eyed curiosity at the men in their midst who had fought to preserve freedom.
As I watched the Mabton veterans yesterday, some of them advanced in years, I thought back to the many veterans I interviewed while in Cle Elum.
Like, for example, the two men who fought at the Battle of the Bulge and lived just a few miles from each other in the Cle Elum area.
Neither one knew they had a comrade in arms from the battle living so near, because when they returned from the war they did like so many others-quietly went back to their families and back to work.
Only through a newspaper story did they happen to meet and realize their shared history at the Bulge.
Today is Veteran's Day.
It's only one day a year, but it's all theirs because of the days they gave up-and are giving up-to serve and protect you and me.