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There is no reason locals should have to choose God or country

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 5:00 a.m. CST

To the Editor:

Veterans Day is coming in less than a month. My family attends every local Veterans Day memorial observance, and I haven’t missed in my 62 years of life.

My father, a World War II and Korean Conflict veteran, took our family to the parades and community services. In my preschool and early elementary years, I watched the event seated on Dad’s shoulders.

One year, my older brother took me on his shoulders, because my father was in Japan during the Korean Conflict. In junior high, high school, college and my two years in the U.S. Army, I marched in the band and played marches, the Star-Spangled Banner and A Salute to the Armed Forces.

I’m moved by all the patriotic music, but the Salute to the Armed Forces medley is really special on Veterans Day. It’s inspiring when the veterans from different branches of military service stand when their official song is played.

In my adult years, I’ve watched the parade with my hand over my heart, played in bands, played saxophone solos, lead invocations and benedictions, and on two occasions gave the major speeches for the day.

I’m a thankful American who honors the men and women who give so much. It is a living part of my family’s heritage and DNA.

This year, my family and I will have to miss our local Veterans Day Observances in Morris, because the parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. and the ceremonies will commence at the County Courthouse lawn at 11 a.m.

It is true that the signing of the Peace Treaty following World War I was on 11/11/1911 at 11 a.m. It is also true that communications weren’t instantaneous 101 years ago as they are today. This means that 101 years ago, each time zone celebrated the French 11 a.m. signing at their local time. (Today, we would all stay up and watch satellite actual time signing at 4 a.m. Central Standard Time.)

I’ve spoken with the good people — and they are good people — who set this year’s parade and commemoration time. Several local pastors wrote letters to encourage a rethinking of the time, which conflicts with most worship services on Sunday morning.

As always, the parade organizers extended invitations to participate in the event to local school bands, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other local service organizations. This means that many families will have to choose between their worship and their support for country.

It seems a simple, modest and practical request to move the time of the parade and the ceremony to the afternoon, or even to Saturday, as many of other communities have done.

If the time is not changed, my family will choose to honor our God and our country. We will, as always, worship with our church in the morning on the Lord’s Day, and this year we will respectfully attend and honor our service people in another community.

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