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Veterans Day ceremony planned for Scappoose Heritage Park at the Veterans Memorial, beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 11

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Tom Ford

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a check made payable to "The United States of America" for any amount, up to and including their life.

All gave some, some gave all.

Another Veterans Day nears with America's fighting forces deployed around the world. Whether it's Iraq, Afghanistan, Niger, Europe, Korea or off shore in a Navy Battle Group prepared to launch, American Forces are spread thin.

With only 1 percent of our citizens volunteering to serve, this republic owes a great deal to those who wear the uniform.

If your family has any member 17 years of age or younger, every day of that young person's life, the War on Terror has continued ... every Christmas, every birthday, every summer, every day.

With World War II included, and with our involvement in Iraq, 40.15 million Americans have served their nation. As many as 1.34 million have been wounded, and 668,000 have given their lives.

Now, coupled with the foreign dangers, we collectively have unrest at home.

It seems the comfortable places we once went to escape the pressures of the day are no longer available to us. Sports, the onetime realm of the easy chair or couch, is now interjected with politics and social unrest. Our largest veterans groups, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, have registered strong and unconditional condemnation of the NFL's actions. Keith Harmon, a Vietnam veteran and national commander of America's 1.7 million members of the VFW, the largest and oldest American combat veteran group, is quoted as saying, "There is a time and place for civil debate, and wearing team jerseys and using sporting events to disrespect our country doesn't wash with the millions of veterans who have and continue to wear real uniforms on real battlefields around this globe ... I stand for our flag and I kneel for our fallen."

There is a movement among veterans to boycott the NFL this Sunday, the day following Veterans Day, and I intend to join it. While the players have recently begun claiming that they are not trying to disrespect the flag and the veterans, I feel that gauging who is being insulted must rely on the perception of the insulted party, and I feel insulted. They claim I can't understand their position ... it's a black thing. I tell them they wouldn't understand my position ... it's a veteran thing.

Having had family members and too many friends to count give their last full measure of devotion to this nation, I personally find that the pleasure of the diversion is outweighed by the aggravation I feel.

This veteran, this fan, will find other diversions on which to spend my time and money.

Saturday is Veterans Day, Nov. 11. There will be a ceremony at the Heritage Park Scappoose Veterans Memorial next to the library starting at 10:30 a.m. with a guest speaker and, weather permitting, a flyover by our local flying club, Bi-Planes North West.

Seating will be provided by the Scappoose Fire Department with the Cub Scouts' assistance for those needing it, and some cover will be provided in the event of rain. I look forward to seeing you there.

And may God continue to bless America.

Tom Ford

VFW Post 4362

Scappoose

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