Our military has always held a special place in my heart.
Growing up in Salem, Alabama, only 45 minutes from Fort Benning, I took many field trips there, where I quickly cultivated a healthy respect for the men and women of our Armed Forces.
Several generations on both sides of my family have had members go on to serve our country and be well-respected veterans by their friends, loved ones and communities. As a child, whenever I would stop and look at their pictures on the wall, a relative would often tell their name, branch and what their contributions were during their time of service.
To be honest, I can’t say I ever felt a personal gravitation or calling toward a military career. It wasn’t that it was undesirable or that I didn’t love my country enough to follow the calling and serve, it just didn’t mesh with my interests or long-term goals.
With my life experiences and knowledge as well as the ability to cultivate solid friendships and relationships with our area’s veterans through my platform here at the Opelika Observer, I can safely say my appreciation for them grows on a daily basis.
Regardless of branch, I cannot begin to fathom the commitment, responsibility and stresses that come with military service.
For some, including a handful I’ve known personally, it was an easy way to get a paycheck. But, for others, joining the military was the following of a calling – a calling that few of us could ever dream of fully comprehending.
No matter who heads our government or makes decisions about our military involvement abroad, these brave men and women follow their orders and do as they’re told. There are no Democratic or Republican leanings or loyalties – it’s all about serving and protecting the nation they call home.
That means that my wife and I can go to bed at night feeling safe. It assures that the quality of life we all enjoy will continue. Our freedoms and rights will endure.
The 11 veterans and individuals highlighted in this third-annual publication contributed to those causes.
And for those reasons and more, I would like to thank them. Thank you is perhaps the weakest form of verbally expressing my gratitude there is, but the English language can do no better than those two words.
Thank you veterans for all you do and thank you to our readers for continuing to support us in our endeavor to bring you the best local news by local people for local people.
Morgan Bryce