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Honor veterans' sacrifices

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We often read an obituary in our local newspaper that includes recognition of the deceased being a veteran of the U.S. military. Many of these are survivors of World War II and the last of what is rightfully called "The Greatest Generation."
Aside from family and close friends, little is known of the true history of these individuals. Their passing is marked without fanfare, except for the VFW, and very little knowledge of their bravery in battle.
My neighbor, Wayne Hall of Independence, was one of the heroes of World War II. He passed away recently at the age of 89.
Hall was 19 years old when he joined the U.S. Army in 1941 and was discharged when the war ended in 1945. He served his entire enlistment in the European Theater and took part in the best-known and deadliest battles of World War II, including the landing at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.
He left his mountain home an inexperienced boy. He came of age on the battlefield of Europe to the sound and smell of gunfire and death. He served with honor and valor and came home at the age of 23, a humble and wiser warrior.
He quietly spent the rest of his life in the Flat Rock Community of Grayson County living on his farm with Penny, his wife of 64 years, raising an amazing family and caring for his beloved horses.
But he never forgot his days as a soldier.
Granted, he was a reluctant hero. Never talked much about the horror of the battle or the fear and uncertainty of the life and the daily struggle to survive. But make no mistake. Wayne Hall was a hero.
Take a moment to remember and be thankful for the sacrifice Hall and countless other young men and women are willing to make so we may live the life we choose to live.
The quote General George S. Patton: "Let us not mourn the soldiers who have died, but rather be grateful such heroes have lived."
Rebecca M. Bullock
Independence