Up and down el Rio Blanco: Thanks to our veterans

Last week I wrote about my love of birthdays, my own and everyone else’s and my love of celebrating the anniversary of the birth of our country, July 4.
In my humble opinion, the main reason we are able to celebrate birthdays as we wish is because of the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans who have or are currently serving our country and defending our rights through the different branches of the armed forces, in times of peace and war.
I registered for the draft when I turned 18 but didn’t enlist. I have the utmost respect for those who did, however. I’m truly thankful for their service. My younger brother, Joe, joined the Army about a year after he was graduated from high school. Even though he was never deployed into a war zone, I admire and appreciate the commitment he made to our country. Joe is the most dedicated and loyal person I know and I thank God he is my friend and brother.
Over the years, there have been hundreds, probably even thousands, of men and women from Rio Blanco County who have served our country as members of the military, many are buried in our county cemeteries.
On the front page of this issue, local VFW Post 5843 commander Tom Kilduff writes about celebrating America’s 235 years of freedom and public displays of patriotism. Former Marine sergeant Kilduff invites all veterans, “war or no war, to come out from wherever you are standing in the parade and fall in behind us (color guard) to show your patriotism to America.”
There are usually a few thousand people in town to watch the parade on the Fourth of July and I hope all of the veterans in attendance will “fall in” behind the color guard, as Tom asked, so the rest of us can publicly thank you for defending our freedom.
I would like to echo my friend Tom’s request and meet all the veterans at the end of the parade for a group picture in front of the Freeman Fairfield building. The picture will be published on the front page of next week’s issue of the Herald Times to again publicly thank all veterans for their service. I would be happy to email a copy to any veteran in the photo.
Thank you to all military veterans for your service, allowing us to celebrate the 235th anniversary of the birth of our country. May God bless our troops and the United States of America. Happy birthday!