Veterans Day needs new, young life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 7, 2007

As the World War II legends leave us, and the Vietnam heroes age, Veteran’s Day is dying.

The problem may be in the day’s very creation.

Veterans Day — the holiday set aside to honor the living that served in the military — is celebrated on Nov. 11, the same day as Armistice Day, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

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That historical fact links the holiday to the older veterans, or, as it’s probably said in the minds of newer veterans, “the old guys.”

Our nation has two kinds of veterans, those over 50 and those under 50. And the two groups don’t always seem to blend well.

It’s understandable. It’s a generation gap.

These men and women fought for different reasons. They got involved in the military at different times and they’ve dealt with life in different ways.

But at least one thing is the same — they are heroes.

It’s that title alone that sometimes turns away the younger set though. They don’t feel like heroes, they’ll say.

And that’s where the older heroes must close the gap.

Age, maturity and life in a different time taught our senior veterans to stand tall, accept the “thank you,” and tell their stories.

The younger veterans must learn those lessons.

Natchez will revive it’s Veterans Day parade at 10 a.m. Saturday. But no one knows if the crowds will come.

Veterans Service Officer Erle Drane has been seeking contact information for the young folks. He wants to invite them to participate.

It may not be in their nature to come on their own, but these young folks need to participate. Community members can do their part by encouraging the veterans around them, submitting their name to the Veterans Service Office and showing up on Saturday.

This holiday is far too important to watch die.