God bless America and our greatest generationBy SUSAN AMUNDSON,
There are several causes about which I am very passionate, and among the top is respect for the military and our veterans. When Editor/Publisher Charlie Smith announced we would be honoring our Marion County World War II veterans, both Sports Editor Joshua Campbell and I loved the concept and began wracking our brains on how to make this Profile extra special.
The reality of this is there are not too many of these precious men and women left as they are now in their 90s, and some are even centenarians. Each one, though, deserves our utmost respect and love for their duty to this country and to us.
There are a couple men who fought in the war that chose not to be interviewed, and we totally and completely respect that. I hate we couldn’t share their stories, but I am glad we were able to contact them and let them know we care.
While working on this project we have been mindful of the fact that time was against us. So we were trying to make it of utmost importance. In fact one of the veterans we had planned to interview passed away about five days before the interview took place, reminding us at The Columbian-Progress of the pressing need to get this heroic generation’s story out.
I have been working on looking at the history of the war through the old issues of the paper. I saw references to the movie “Sgt. York.” I had to laugh to myself because that was one of my father’s favorite movies, and I know I watched it with him more than once.
This generation we focused on is considered the greatest generation and rightfully so.
These men and women were not afraid to step up to the plate either abroad or on the home front. I saw where even in South Mississippi in the small town of Columbia where the folks here had to deal with rations on items such as sugar, rubber and coffee.
I saw page after page of reports in the paper showing support for our men and women. Children even held scrap parties to collect metal for the military.
A huge thank you goes to Commander Bill Harris of American Legion Post 90 who helped us in getting names, addresses and phone numbers for the veterans. We may not have gotten to all of them, but we did try our best, even knocking on doors of those that could not be reached otherwise.
Why? Because their stories are important to us and should be to you, too.
These men and women, despite their advanced age and health, still stand when the flag is raised, still remove their hats and still stand proud of this great nation we all call home. Our freedom was important; in fact freedom itself was and is still important to them, not only for the U.S. but everywhere they went. To them the land may not be perfect, but it is still home.
God bless America, and God bless the greatest generation for they indeed are great.