Veterans Day lacked focus on veterans
Last updated 11/20/2016 at Noon
As an Army Vietnam era veteran I am compelled to ask: Why were the honored veterans not looking out the car windows, but rather looking into them?
Nov. 11, Veterans Day, was supposed to be the day where the 7 percent of U.S. adults (92 percent men and 8 percent women) who are veterans, and dared to do their patriotic chore, were to have a collective Mill Creek community salute.
Sadly, during the initial military style flag raising at the Mill Creek Veteran’s Monument, our Mayor Pam Pruitt introduced several political officials, and in most cases they did not take the time to serve in the military for our beloved country. Then, as if an afterthought, Pam thanked the veterans for our great service. Why during this veteran’s recognition event were veterans pushed aside?
Why weren’t our Mill Creek Gold Star family members mentioned at this event, but yet the non-serving politicians were?
Why didn’t Pruitt introduce the 7 percenters men and women who were in attendance and who did do their military duty? Apparently Pruitt did not remember that Veterans Day became a holiday so our society WOULD focus on our veterans.
Then, again disheartening during OUR Veterans Day parade, those who did their military civic obligation were not even asked to be the dignitaries who sat in a car so they could be greeted by the onlookers as the vehicles maneuvered down the parade route.
Shouldn’t it be the goal for Veterans Day to focus on and salute “the brave” who willingly placed our country’s interest above their own aspirations? So where were these so-called honored Mill Creek guests and the Gold Star families? Overall, these honored individuals were lost among the crowded sidewalk as our city and elected officials were slowly driven by them.
Before the parade started, I walked among the participants. I was asked as a veteran if I was going to walk with some of the other veterans. This took me by surprise since no one had reached out to me or to numerous other veterans to let us know ahead of time that we could march in this honoring OF vets procession.
What I, and all other veterans watched, was not a parade for us but rather a political show for those who were inside the cars and waving. Apparently, they were thinking: “See what I did for you veterans, so please remember me when it comes time to vote. And, oh yes, by the way folks remember to reach out and thank a veteran.”
I must make it clear that City Councilmember Donna Michelson is an appropriate person to be recognized because it was she and I together who were instrumental in getting the Mill Creek City Council to approve the construction of our city’s beautiful and prize-winning Veteran’s Monument; therefore we veterans should be saluting her.
Some of those Mill Creek veteran residents who should have been inside the cars were: Wil Nelson, U.S. Army and Bronze Medal recipient; John Lovick, United States Coast Guard; Fred Fillbrook, United States Army-Airborne; Didrik Voss, Army and a West Point grad; Roy Skagen, U.S. Marine. These are just a few Mill Creekers who should have been inside the cars and waving outward, rather than being in the crowd waving inward.
Maybe, just maybe, next year the veterans and Gold Star family members will be waving from inside the cars? And maybe we Mill Creek veterans will be asked to be on the planning committee so we can have input on how to really focus on veterans? Remember, if you want something well organized, then let veterans do it!
Since it is we who dared to serve in one of our county’s five groups (Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force or Marine) of our Armed Forces let us, as well as representatives from Gold Star families, be the ones at the podiums. Let us patriots replace those speakers who didn’t militarily step forward and sacrifice for “America the Beautiful.”
Darn right, with the greatest respect for my fellow veterans, keep your heads held high and never lose your special pride of service. I salute all members of our Gold Star families and you too my fellow veterans for being one of the 7 percenters who dared to wear a military uniform!