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Remember those before us

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Korey Fratini
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
It dawned on me this summer that our society can sometimes overlook the veterans who have served in previous wars and conflicts. I had attended the Fair of St. Louis where there were two Tuskegee Airmen at their historical display on the grounds of the arch. What I noticed was the lack of people who were stopping by to see and thank these veterans who played such a large role in our nation's history. There were thousands of people who were taking part in the various activities going on, and it would not have taken very much to stop by and thank these men for what they have done. More people seemed to be concerned with the free concerts and other events going on.

There are not that many Tuskegee Airmen or World War II veterans who are still alive. As the years go on, those numbers dwindle and that part of living history fades away. They are the only ones who can give firsthand accounts of what they experienced. When they are no longer here, we are left with only memorials and what is written in history books.
As an active duty Airman, surrounding communities have been very gracious to me. When I am in uniform I generally get thanked for my service. But what occurred to me that day in July, was that we may forget about those who have served before us because we are living in the present. It's easy to thank those veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan because for many younger generations those are the wars that they recognize the most.

As Veterans Day approaches, I think it's important that we, as servicemembers, look to remember those who have come before us and give those veterans the thanks and praise they deserve. Without those who have served before us, we would not be where we are today.

It takes very little time to extend a thank you to those veterans. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the time I took on that day in July to go and thank the Tuskegee Airmen for what they have done meant a great deal to them. I could see it on their faces. I also felt a great deal of satisfaction myself that I was able to thank them and hear a little bit about their story.

So when you are out celebrating Veterans Day with family, take the time to remember those veterans who came before us. If you see those veterans out and about, take the time to thank them for their service, because one day those of us who are in uniform now will be one of them.