We should thank our veterans every day

Published 9:53 am Friday, May 29, 2009

I’d like to say that the past Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade was the best ever.

My wife, Lisa, had to drag me there because Memorial Day is one of the toughest times of the year for me.

Yeah, as a city councilman, I’ve marched a couple of times, but my inclination is to stay away and think solitarily of my fallen friends and brothers.

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It’s just a personal thing, but thanks to the hospitality of Bob and Beth Anderson my family and I had a wonderful time.

The city government was represented well by the two best public servants we have: Our mayor, Rich Blankenship and councilman Leo Johnson.

There aren’t people who come along like them every day, believe me. Rich does for us what no mayor has ever done. He not only works harder than any mayor we’ve had, but he actually cares about the citizenry of our city.

Leo Johnson is the epitome of what a city councilman should be. I have the good fortune of sitting next to him in the meetings and am privy to just how sincere and honest he is.

Leo is a stellar guy with his heart exactly where it should be.

As a Vietnam veteran I’m one of those people who don’t need to be thanked for my service.

I flunked out of college and got drafted. I had seen too many John Wayne movies and thought the adventure would be great.

That’s the dumb rationale I hope your son or daughter never experiences. It always ticks me off to see someone on the Today Show who is celebrated for pulling some old lady from a burning house.

Hell, isn’t that the right thing to do?

The soldiers who go into harms way know what they are in for and they are the ones who need to be celebrated and thanked with all of our hearts.

They do a job that is underpaid, overworked, and are separated from their loved ones. These kids should be in our thoughts and prayers every day, but are they?

I’m as guilty as the rest of you.

Afghanistan is the hell hole of the world, more so than Iraq at this time. They are doing things that are unimaginable to those of you who haven’t experienced the horrors of war.

I was lucky I came back from Vietnam with nothing more than a broken ankle from jumping from a helicopter. Some of my buddies came back in body bags to families who couldn’t understand why.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them and the sacrifice they made for you and me.

And to those who have loved ones over there now I want to say that I feel what you feel.

They are doing the most honorable thing they can possibly do, and that is putting their lives on the line for their country and for all of us.

They are the best of the best.

Butch Huff is an Ironton resident and a current member of the Ironton City Council.