As I searched through boxes for my beloved turkey decorations -- I love Thanksgiving -- I shook my head at the onslaught of Christmas decorations already in place everywhere I turn. I understand the need to turn on the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay weeks before Christmas. Its a good economic ploy to keep the park in the black.
And I have to admit I was a bit giddy looking over some lovely new Christmas decorations I saw at Ben Franklins the other day. I was tempted to go home and pull out the tree and start decorating, but Thanksgiving has to be observed first.
Then something happened this week that made me pause and put things into perspective when looking at the calendar.
When I saw the large American flag hanging upside down at half staff at that McDonalds restaurant in Follansbee, I cringed. You can argue that it was a mistake or that its an Americans right to free speech, but it still hurt. I cant imagine how that felt to so many Americans who have fought for those Stars and Stripes.
Thats why, more than ever, Veterans Day is important and should be to anyone who calls these borders home. Without the men and women who wear the camouflage, who put boots on the ground in far off places, who fight terrorist attacks and sand fleas, there would be no flag or pole to raise it on.
My Dad was one of those guys who fought and was wounded in battle during World War II. I wish he was still here to tell him one more time how grateful we all are for people like him.
Veterans Day falls on Sunday -- tomorrow -- this year. In just about every town, city, hollow or hilltop, there will be parades, memorial services and dinners in tribute to our military, current and past. More events are planned on Monday including at 11 a.m. at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. Its a beautiful and moving service if you have a few minutes to let our veterans know they are appreciated.
Tomorrow, at Brooke Hills Park in Wellsburg, a long-awaited celebration will be observed in collaboration with Veterans Day. The Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park will be dedicated after many years and hard work by a wonderful group of men and women who know the importance of honoring those in uniform. The activities begin with music at 1:30 p.m. followed by the dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. My hat is off to everyone who made this project possible.
Did you know that West Virginia ranks at the top with larger states for veterans who served and that per capita, the Mountain State ranks at the top with larger state for veterans lost? Brooke County is right up there with larger counties in the state for veterans who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
I think those are pretty darn good reasons to go out of your way to say thanks to a veteran and to properly raise the American flag. Thank you, troops.
Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.