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Appalachia Through My Eyes – Veterans Day In Appalachia

My life in appalachia veterans day

Veterans Day in Appalachia is school hallways lined with gray haired vets…along with some lady vets and young vets sprinkled in-all of whom look uncomfortable with the gratitude being showered on them. It’s flags floating along porch railings and mailboxes. It’s stiff new mini flags being waved in unison. It’s small and large gatherings in town squares.

Veterans Day in Appalachia is fellow comrades teasing each other about the handsome young soldiers shown in the photos flashing on the screen at the front of the room. It’s laughter ending in teary eyes and solemn faces as their talk reminds them of those left behind.

Veterans Day in Appalachia is children standing on risers singing about the flag with voices that get louder on the easy parts and fade away on the hard parts. It’s special breakfasts, dinners, and suppers-each served lovingly to those who served for us all.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    November 11, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    I had six brothers in the military at the same time along with brother-in laws. The youngest brother was sent back he made it to California the war had been declared over by Roosevelt All made it home safe . A special thanks to all our soldiers. I guess I had the most brothers from one family in the war. Thanks to Jake and Julie Davis.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    November 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    And how moving a tribute, Tipper, yours. And how heartfelt the thoughts of those saluting the Soldier, the Veteran. I was especially moved by Miss Ethelene’s sonnet. Strikingly beautiful.
    God bless our veterans and God bless you and your followers.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    November 11, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Who would go? Who would sign up for an obligation that includes death on the list of duties. Who would leave their wife or husband or Mom and Dad or little sons or daughters and who would walk on past happiness, comfort and safety. Our soldiers always do. Not for glory, not for thrills, not for far away places; but for the knowing that someone must do it and if not them, who.
    There are no greater heroes.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    November 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    As a gray-haired veteran of four years in the Viet Nam War (the American War, if you’re Vietnamese), I thank you, Tipper, for your eloquent description of this day devoted to recognizing those who served throughout our nation’s history.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Today’s post was one of your best
    tributes to our “friends and
    family” who bravely gave of themselves for our freedom…Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    November 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Many thanks to all our Veteran’s who proudly served our great nation.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you Tipper, well spoken! Your reverence and respect shine through. I think of our men, Pap, Forrest, Papaw Tony, and more if we go back farther.
    My heartfelt thanks to all out Veterans past, present, and future. They stand guard for the rest of us!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    God bless all of our servicemen and women, past and present. A special Happy Veteran’s Day to Pap!Thanks for your service, we appreciate you!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 11, 2014 at 11:40 am

    our family has veterans going back to the Revolutionary War – in various branches of service. I remember Roy and I walking down the street in Cherokee one crisp, Fall day. He was wearing a shirt with the USMC insignia on it. A man walked up and said “excuse me, sir, but did you serve?” When Roy answered “yes, in Korea” he said “well, I want to shake your hand” We just stood there as he walked away but there was an aura of solemnity and grace all around us.
    God Bless our service men and women, active and inactive. THANKS

  • Reply
    November 11, 2014 at 10:52 am

    You outdid yourself on your description of Veteran’s Day. I especially was able to picture children who get louder on the easy parts of singing.
    Veteran’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, as I was fortunate to have been raised in a family chock full of veterans and patriotism. It has not become as commercial as other holidays, and is a time when children can be taught deep respect for the sacrifices. The web and FB have made it so easy to share stories and pictures of my family veterans, and we have pictures that date back to the Civil War.
    My mother kept a cigar box of old photos in a bookcase. As a child I would occasionally shuffle through them. There was always this smiling, handsome young man dressed in army uniform, and he shared one picture with my Dad. He had been my Dad’s best friend in WW11, and I grew up listening to occasional tidbits about him… He died on a battlefield far from home. Dad wrote to his mother for a time after discharge, and I once read her letters. I have contacted people on Ancestry who may treasure copies of his pictures, but no response. So, once again I will remember the young man from Kentucky, and I will thank him for the price he paid so long ago. Edgar Petrey 1924–March 1945.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain, former Captain, Army Corps of Engineers
    November 11, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I went into the Army at them tail-end of Vietnam and spent 4 years as a combat engineer at Fort Riley, KS. Never saw combat, but I am especially grateful to my many friends of that era and those before and after them who placed themselves in great danger to defend our freedom, some of whom gave their lives. We also need to remember the families who made sacrifices and struggled while their loved one was in harm’s way. And of course, for those who never came back and their families, we owe our deepest gratitude.

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    November 11, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Tipper—Thank you for remembering us this Veteran’s day.
    My time was from 1959-1969 in the United States Navy. As a Hospital Corpsman I had the privilege of serving members all branches of our service’s.
    Semper Fi to your father.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Reminds me of a book titled “Psalm 91”, tells many military stories of miraculous protection. One tells the story of a young man in WWII. He was shot in the chest. The bullet lodged in his shirt pocket which contained a bible with the New Testament and the Psalms, the bullet had stopped and was lodged pointing into Psalm 91!

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    November 11, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I wish all my brothers and sisters who served our nation a great Veterans day. Thank you for your service.
    Garland Davis,
    Chief Petty Officer,
    USN (Ret)

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 11, 2014 at 8:54 am

    We attended an assembly of our grandchildren’s school that honored the veterans last week.
    Our granddaughter looked on from the risers and is in the school choir which sang “American Tears”
    The principle of the school distinguished each branch of service. She then asked for those veterans to stand when she read about each branch of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Air Force. Our youngest grandchild(sweet boy, first grade) would look over his shoulder to see if and when his grandfather stood up. All these children were seated on the gym floor in front of us. As each was announced he would look back. Toward the end he looked at me with a quizzical look, (as did our granddaughter from the choir) almost asking with their eyes, has Papaw forgot which branch of service he was in…etc. I just smiled at them! Finally, Air Force was announced, their Papaw stood up, they grinned from ear to ear and clapped the loudest of any kids in their row…and I might add, our grandson sang the loudest when they all sang “The Grand Ole Flag” with all the typical hand gestures that first graders do, hand over heart, salutes and the waving of the flag with the hand over their heads…so wonderful for them but especially for the veteran grandfathers. More than one had a tear in their eye!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    November 11, 2014 at 8:20 am

    There should be more than one Veteran’s Day each year.
    We all get so busy we forget the reason we are free to do all these busy things is because of our Veteran’s and those who are serving every day.
    Let’s remember they are all volunteers.
    God Bless our Vets.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2014 at 7:51 am

    To all Vets out there, God bless you and thank you for your service so we can be a free country.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 11, 2014 at 7:20 am

    In Rain of Leaves
    (A Sonnet for Veterans’ Day)
    Standing in a rain of leaves
    I think of those whose bravery won
    Battles. Many fell like numbered sheaves
    In the harvest of war. A beloved son
    Whose future, bright as myriad stars,
    Shone on the horizon of dreams,
    But under fire his golden bars
    Were no protection from enemy beams.
    Today we salute the flag. We wipe tears
    Of remembrance, filled with regret
    That life for many–broken–wears
    A red, white, blue and golden coronet.
    I raise my hand in somber salute;
    In rain of leaves hold truth an absolute.-Ethelene Dyer Jones

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 11, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Tipper–Those three paragraphs are some of your finest writing. Your words are distinctly reminiscent of those John Parris offer in his column, “Roaming the Mountains.”
    I would add a bit.
    Veteran’s Day is simple mountain folks showing they always have been and remain staunch patriots. It’s s heartfelt thank you to those who kept us safe and a sad but necessary reminder that freedom sometimes comes at a price.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    November 11, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Thank you for those who are and have served this Great Country of Ours.. God has truly shed his Grace on us all..

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