“They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front … As they now reach the twilight of their adventurous and productive lives, they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest … In a deep sense they didn’t think that what they were doing was that special, because everyone else was doing it too.”
— Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation
On Monday, Scotland County honored the hundreds of veterans that call this county home with free meals, ceremonies and visits from special guests.
It was a token of appreciation that undoubtedly took much time and effort to plan, but which could only make a dent in the debt we owe to those who fought to keep this country safe and its enemies at bay.
There is nothing we can do that would pay that debt in full. We can only try our best.
So we, on Monday, remembered those who fought bravely and with all their hearts — those who sacrificed so much all while thinking that what they were doing was nothing special. We at the newspaper covered all the events we could. We listened to speeches and interviewed veterans and the wives of veterans.
Through it all, we remain most impressed, as the quote above says, at the quality of the lives of veterans, namely those of World War II. Not only did they enter the service at a time of international turmoil, but they excelled at tasks given and were propelled through the ranks at a much faster pace than originally intended — because they had no choice.
After the military, many went on to lead illustrious careers in education or public service, continuing to earn accolades after the retirement from that second career.
At the end of Veterans Day we feel grossly inadequate — but also thankful, because if not for them we would have surely been exposed to more adversity than we can imagine.
If not for you, the veterans of the county and the county, our lives would be very different. For that, and for your selfless acts, we salute you.