Veterans deserve much praise

Today, the nation takes pause to remember the countless veterans who have fought so valiantly to preserve our freedom and way life.

Enough can’t be said about the many sacrifices our veterans and active duty personnel have made.

Without them, America truly would not be as grand as it is today.

Throughout more than 235 years and countless wars and conflict, our military has protected us all and preserved democracy for generations to come.

Today, I personally remember numerous members of my family who have fought for this country from sea to shining sea and far beyond.

My descendants have served in nearly every war, from the Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many still are enlisted, and some are currently deployed overseas.

Many more, though, paid the ultimate price in defense of our country. For that, I am humbled and thankful.

Looking back in time, the breadth of service in my family spans generations and entire branches of the family tree.

Many family members even have made a career in the military.

One such career man was my late uncle, Nathan Hoover.

Uncle Nathan was mother’s oldest brother, and both were born and raised on Polk Creek in nearby Weston.

Uncle Nathan entered the service at a young age – 17 – and almost immediately was deployed to Germany at the tail end of World War II.

From there, he served in the Korean War, participating in the Battle of Pork Chop Hill as the first sergeant of E Company, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. It was here, he earned a Silver Star for his actions in the battle.

Following Uncle Nathan’s time in Korea, he served two tours in Vietnam.

At the time of his retirement in 1976 – the year I was born – he was the command sergeant major of the 197th Infantry Brigade at Ft. Benning, Ga.

In addition to the Silver Star, he was the recipient of the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, eight awards of the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and two awards of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Throughout my childhood, I always looked up to and admired my uncle for his straight-lace, no-nonsense ways. He always – until the day he died – carried himself like a military man, earning the respect of all he encountered.

Please join me today in giving thanks to our area’s many veterans for the sacrifices they made so that we all may enjoy the many freedoms we are afforded.