• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Veterans Day letter to the editor

Help Support Ranchers.net:

Liberty Belle

Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
Reaction score
northwestern South Dakota
I wrote this letter to our local newspaper a couple years ago and I'll post it here to further honor our veterans. To all you vets on the board - thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Dear Editor,

I was reminded today that Veteran's Day is this week and I'd like to do something I have never gotten around to doing before. I'd like to publicly thank all the veterans who have served our country in so many different conflicts through the years.

I thought about this last April when we buried one of my heroes, Guy Doll. Guy was a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool, take-care-of-your-own, no-compromise, patriot like my father and I realized I had never told him or my dad thank you for what they'd done during the war years and for the way they had lived their lives since. As we listened to the sound of Taps at the grave side I thought of the thousands of times that tune had been heard by men like Guy and my father, played over the graves of young men who died beside them in battle and over older friends who made it back home to go on with their lives. I remembered how I used to take these sacrifices for granted.

As a child I knew that Roy Goddard couldn't hear too well because of the heavy artillery unit he was in during WWII and I knew Steve Vetter's hands were misshapen because of a bullet he took in them, but I never gave it much thought. It was a fact of life that Dad's back bothered him after being broken during an air attack in Northern Africa and taking shrapnel in it while "vacationing on the sunny beaches of Anzio" as he put it. I knew Jim Haggart had been hospitalized after a plane crash, Gus Smith died in a field hospital in France, Reuben Negaard died in the trenches in Germany and Bob Hanson was a prisoner of war, but the awful reality of war didn't soak in until it was my generation, my friends and contemporaries, who were coming home in body bags during the Viet Nam conflict.

As I stood at the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, DC, reading the thousands of names listed there, it was soul wrenching to see Leo Aukland's name carved into the stark black marble. Leo, a kid I'd grown up with, fought with, and laughed with, was dead, dying in some rice paddy in Viet Nam. I watched my friends come home with wounds on their bodies and scars on their souls from fighting a war they were not allowed to win and it made me sick when I saw how they were treated when they returned.

When my friend Sam Marty got his medal some twenty years late I did tell him congratulations, but I never did say thank you. That's why I'm writing this, I want to say thanks to all you guys who put your lives on hold and on the line for those of us at home. I want to express the gratitude and the appreciation I feel.

Thanks Dad and Guy, thanks Sam and Leo, Roy, Steve, Bob, Vern and Sandy Bill and all the rest of you who did the best job you knew how for an often ungrateful people. It's because of you that I have the freedom to write this.

Latest posts