Celebrating real heroes on Veterans Day

Published 12:07 pm Saturday, November 10, 2018

When was the last time you sat in the presence of a real hero? No, I’m not talking about the ones we all too often label as heroes, simply because they can hit a ball or play a guitar or make us laugh. What I’m talking about is an honest-to-goodness, risked life-and-limb to save humanity, kind of hero.

Joe Quinton Dickerson

On Friday, three dozen or so members of the Franklin Rotary Club got to do just that when Joe Quinton Dickerson, a Murfreesboro resident and World War II veteran who was among the first wave of soldiers to storm the beaches of France on June 6, 1944, held what he says will be his last public discussion about his experiences in the war. For 30 minutes, in a room full of wet eyes and grateful hearts, Joe described his personal account of what happened on D-Day, the day that quite literally saved the world. His list of commendations is stunning. It includes three Purple Hearts, one Purple Heart Cluster, the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, the D-Day Medal, a Presidential Citation, the French Medal for freeing France, a Combat Infantry Badge with Wreath and the European Theater Medal. Although too humble to ever describe himself as such, Joe Dickerson is a real hero. He is, as are all those who have risked life and limb in the name of liberty and freedom, the genuine article.

On the front page of today’s newspaper, we are re-running an interview Joe gave to The Tidewater News in November of 2015. It gives an excellent accounting of what Joe and hundreds of thousands of other Allied troops encountered on that day and in the weeks and months that followed. It is appropriate, given that this Sunday is Veterans’ Day, that we do so. However, it is even more appropriate that we should give thanks each and every day for the contributions and sacrifices made by all of our military veterans. They, like Joe Dickerson, are all heroes. They are all the genuine article. And they all deserve our gratitude and to be recognized as such.

Tony Clark is publisher of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at tony.clark@tidewaternews.com.