Veterans’ service always merits our thanks

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, November 21, 2015

[Editor’s note: An error in receiving this column caused the delay of publication.]

It is my understanding that this day of remembrance and honoring is an official United States federal holiday originating from the anniversary of the end of World War I whereby hostilities were officially ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the armistice of Germany went into effect. It has since been set aside to honor you, the veterans of these United States. I endeavor to do that this morning.

We in this country, this state and this county of Isle of Wight enjoy extraordinary freedoms that few in the course of human history have ever experienced. You, through your commitment, your values, your enduring efforts, your astonishing sacrifices and your unbendable determination, have secured these cherished freedoms, not just for we Americans, but for untold people groups scattered across the globe.

You have so secured these freedoms in such strong fashion that the average American goes through their daily activities with little thought as to the possibility of losing such freedoms. This, I believe, has nothing to do with negligence on the part of the average citizen, but rather is a striking proof of the confidence we Americans have in your ability to protect us. In essence, you have given us an incredible gift. You have made us feel safe. You have made our children feel safe. And you have made our grandchildren feel safe.

Perhaps these freedoms can best be depicted as such:

• When a young man from Smithfield graduates from college and can choose, on his own, what career path to pursue — we thank you.

• When a young woman from Zuni says “I do” to the man of her choice — we thank you.

•When a young couple from Carrsville decides to purchase the house of their choice in the town of their choice in the state of their choice — we thank you.

• When a couple from Carrollton can drive from Virginia Beach to Los Angeles, California- through 12 states — with no passport and going through no checkpoints — we thank you.

• When a farmer from Walters can choose what crops to plant on what fields, when to plant them and when to harvest- we thank you.

• When a mother and father from Camptown can choose how many children they would like to have — we thank you.

• When a family from Rushmere can chose to attend the church of their choice — we thank you.

• When parents from Windsor can go watch their children play ball on a Saturday afternoon, with no thought of enemy planes overhead, no worry of an invasion from the North, no fear of far off rumblings to the east being sound of an encroaching enemy — for the absence of all these things that so free us as American citizens to pursue life to the fullest, we are indebted to you.

On behalf of all the citizens of this county of Isle of Wight, and for all the benefits we enjoy as a result of your efforts — we salute you.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author and county supervisor. His email address is