Celebrating the Extraordinary: Veterans Day

I spent a portion of my afternoon in the presence of many Extraordinary Citizens.  And I’m not referring to the cluster of politicians in attendance at the same event.

I attended the 51st Annual Rotterdam Veterans’ Day Service this afternoon, and I found myself surrounded by veterans and civilians alike. It was a moving ceremony on a beautiful afternoon.

The attention-getter for me was a statement by William Frank, Director of Veterans Affairs of Schenectady County.  During his address to the crowd, he said the following:

We have replaced anger with indifference.

The comment was in relation to the public’s reaction to war.  A contrast between the Vietnam War era and today.  Or perhaps between the opinions at the beginning of the War on Terror and today.

It was a stark statement.  One that gripped me.  Too often I am guilty of the indifference, even though I served as a peacetime veteran.  I was moved, so I created the following video as a tribute to those who have and continue to defend freedom on the ground, at sea, and in the air.  It’s also a thank-you to those who support the Extraordinary Citizens in our military.

After the ceremony, I was again surprised, this time by a woman I don’t believe I’d ever met.  Tracy Fredericks walked up to me, warmly shook my hand, and said, “Thank you for your service.”  I wasn’t prepared to be thanked, and I think I stumbled through a grateful reply.

I had worn my USS DETROIT ball cap.  I served on DETROIT for a short while during my four years as a Navy Supply Corps Officer.  I wore the hat as a tribute to all those who have served or serve now during wartime.  Call it my personal “thank you” to our extraordinary veterans. It was probably the ball cap that brought Tracy over.

Tracy told me that her grandfather served during World War II.  He was an immigrant from Italy who joined the Army and served in the infantry. Because her grandfather had passed away, Tracy learned about his service from her father   Her dad was proud of her grandfather’s service.  So is Tracy.

Tracy joined VFW Post 1895.  She ships care packages to our troops serving overseas.

It’s an extraordinary way to fight indifference.

Profiles of the Extraordinary is a category within the This Ordinary Citizen blog.  It features Ordinary Citizens who show us what it means to be Extraordinary.  If you know someone who should be profiled, contact the author.

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    I believe that we desperately need to hear the stories of Ordinary Citizens who make a difference in our lives, our communities and our world.

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