Holidays in Appalachia Thankful November

Thankful November – Veterans Day

Collage of 2021 photos
  • Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor all who have served in the Armed Forces.
  • Veterans Day is a federal holiday and always falls on November 11.
  • In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 Armistice day to commemorate the end of WWI which officially took place at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.
  • In 1954 the United States Congress voted to change the name to Veterans Day.
Jerry M. Wilson USMC

Pap served in the Marines. He taught my brothers and I to be thankful for those who serve for the good of us all. Pap served during peace time, but still lost fellow soldiers to various accidents. Those deaths haunted Pap for the rest of his life.

While stationed in South America Pap contracted malaria. He said he was so sick he barely knew where he was, and eventually lost consciousness. Thankfully he awoke on a Naval hospital ship and was soon well enough to return to his post.

Papaw Tony United States Army

The Deer Hunter’s father, Papaw Tony, served in the Army. He served during the Vietnam era, but was never sent to the area. He spent most of his service time in Panama.

Uncle Henry United States Army

Pap’s youngest brother, my uncle Henry, served in the Army too. But unlike Papaw Tony he spent his entire time in the Vietnam conflict. I know he suffered some harrowing events and has suffered health consequences from agent orange exposure he received.

I used to spend a lot of time at the VA Hospital in Oteen with Pap. Whether he was there for a clinic visit or an extended hospital stay I always enjoyed listening to the other veterans tell their stories.

It was amazing how they seemed to know who belonged to which branch of service just by sitting near each other for a few minutes.

I would often look at the veterans, many who were elderly, and think—they made it. They came back home and the loved ones who hover around them in hopes that their pain will be lessened are evidence that most of them went on to have a good life. Since then my wish for all those who serve is that they come home to live long lives surrounded by family and friends who love them and someday they become the old vets at the VA talking about their past service with their comrades.


Today’s Thankful November giveaway is one of Pap’s cds: “Today, If You Will Hear His Voice.” The cd is new but the plastic wrapping is beginning to come off. To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends November 15, 2021. To pick up your own copy of the cd and see the other cds we have available visit this page. It’s the perfect time for grabbing one of Pap and Paul’s “Songs of Christmas” cds. I’ve been listening to it for the last week 🙂

Last night’s video: Mountain Talk Examples from Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Angela J Short
    November 13, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    I’m thankful for Veterns & Veterns day.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    November 12, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    The best Veterans Day I have ever had was about ten years ago. My cousin, F.C. Moore, myself and some other family members(vets) were invited to Nantahala School for a Veterans Day festival. The kids served us food and then put on a play honoring us. We had conversations with thhe kids and answered their questions as best we could. We all agreed none of us ever had a Veterans Day this honored…and a more respectful bunch of kid we had never seen…Cousin F. C. (Clinton) and brother J.C. have since passed away. They were WWII vets…Larry Moore, myself and Don Gregg still kicking…

  • Reply
    November 12, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Having been there is a Brotherhood. One cannot describe it to a nonveteran, any more that a nonveteran can understand the description. A “weekend warrior” but i still wore the same uniform and took the same oath and training.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2021 at 10:49 am

    That touch my heart Tipper. I’m thankful for each and everyone that served. My brother is a veteran. He was in the Navy, and my Uncle was in the Army and my Dad.

  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    November 11, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    May God bless our Veterans. My Daddy served during World War II and my Mother worked at Lockheed Belle Bomber plant in Marietta. They met there and fell in love. Daddy fought on the Rhine River. He wouldn’t talk about it, too sad to talk about such things I guess. He had painful headaches and partial hearing loss from being so close to the gunfire. He had bad health issues and died of a heart attack when he was just 51 years old. He was a precious Daddy and we all loved him very much. My mother was also 51 years old when Daddy died and she never remarried. She remained a widow for the rest of her life, for 48 years. She was almost 99 years old when she died. Both my parents loved America and always flew the American flag in their yard, and Daddy had a tag on his front bumper of his car that said, “God Bless America.” May God continue to bless America and keep her the land of the free because of the brave.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you to all of our veterans. Freedom isn’t free, and all to often we take it for granted (at least I know I do). I wish our men and women in the service could get more than just a day to day thank you for their service. It bothers me that we have so many homeless veterans. My husband served for 23 years before becoming disabled in 2007. We lost our home that we had paid on for almost ten years in the struggle to get VA disability. Our fight has been going on for over 14 years now. I wish all of our veterans could get the help they so desperately need and deserve.

  • Reply
    Sandra Henderson
    November 11, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    My husband, who has been gone since 2013, served in Vietnam and never signed up for benefits, saying he , “only served for four years”. …

    My son went to Middle East two months or more before Biden decided to end the Afghanistan’s war. He was, and is, still in the Middle East. He’s been to Afghanistan’s, Iraq, Jordan, and I’m not sure where else. I’m also not sure where he is now, except that he is still over there with his men. That is where he went for a year . Now. Who knows how long? He has very small children and
    A wife.

    Thank you to all who have served.
    I try to say thank you to the obvious veterans I encounter. Usually, it’s due to the hat that they wear, as I have no other way of knowing, if I don’t rightly know them.
    I suggest that we all do that .

    I should say, I know ptsd is real. In whatever degree of shape that it forms.

    come to find out, after my husband died, he was listed on the agent orange list with his ship.
    He never knew.

  • Reply
    Denise R
    November 11, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    In our family we’ve had several family members past and present who have served. My husband’s father and uncle were WWII vets and my dad served after the Korean War and was in Vietnam in and out during the beginning of that conflict. We both have cousins who have served in the military and currently we have our son who is full time with the Indiana National Guard. He has been deployed 3 times to the middle east and thankfully returned home safely. But he did see some terrible things happen on his first deployment to Iraq. God most certainly was protecting him.
    To all of our veterans, thank you so much for your service and sacrifices!
    And today we will be taking my dad out for dinner to celebrate Veterans Day with him. He’s 85 years old and is still very proud of his service. He said it was the absolute best job he ever had!!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    My Grandfather was a veteran of WW1 and I took him to Oteen for checkups many times. My father was a veteran of WW11 and died at Oteen from cancer. Both served in the US Army. One cousin had many health issues from Agent Orange due to his Marine Corp service in Viet Nam. I never served in any of our military units but am thankful for those that did.

  • Reply
    Sara Stewart
    November 11, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    To all who have come before us, to all who are with us now, to all who will come after. To all who sacrifice that we may live. Thank you is never enough, but there are no words.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    November 11, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    hi tipper over here in new zealand we dont have veterans day we have a thing called anzac day which is the sane thig but involves new zeand and australin armd forces and is held earlier in the year have a great week and every one please stay safe and wish all of your readers the same

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 11, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Daddy served his time during WW2 but never saw combat. He was sent to a small island in the South Pacific as part of an artillery unit. They fired their big guns at Japanese ships over the horizon so never saw what they were shooting. He said they were never told whether they hit anything or not. Daddy came home with partial hearing loss caused by having to be so close to the guns when they fired.
    Uncle Wayne serve during almost all of WW2 mostly in Europe. From 14 Oct 1939 until 30 Aug 1945. He was in a transportation unit that transported soldiers and supplies to the front lines so he wasn’t in actual combat but came awful close. The Germans where as anxious to stop the supply lines as they were to kill our soldiers. Without food and fuel our soldiers couldn’t fight. Many of our truck drivers lost their lives in attacked by fighter planes and tanks. Uncle Wayne made it home safe but he too brought home a case of malaria which bothered him all his life.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    My husband served in the Navy during the Viet Nam war. He was stationed in Cat Lo and was part of the “brown water Navy” called that because he ran boats up and down the rivers. He was there, the longest year of my life. I am so grateful for his service and all the men and women who served and are now serving, to keep us safe. Thank you to all our vets.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    My daddy was a WWII veteran and my brother was in during Vietnam. My husband is also a veteran. I thank them for their service. Have a good Veterans Day everyone.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 11:53 am

    To all veterans and active duty military personnel, THANK YOU!
    May God protect in His Bosom all those who died to protect our country.

    The biggest regret I have in life is that I never served. During WWII I had 17 first cousins in uniform and one older brother who earned the oak leaves on his infantry badge in Germany in ’45. Three other brothers served but not in combat.

    Vietnam took over 58,000 young Americans’ lives. Six of them were friends of mine.

    • Reply
      November 11, 2021 at 11:57 am

      Sorry, but I forgot to mention that my oldest sister’s husband and my father-in-law were both combat veterans of WWII. They were good and honorable men and suffered much for their country and countrymen.

  • Reply
    Donna Brewton
    November 11, 2021 at 11:21 am

    My grandparents sent three sons into service during WWII and all three came home to marry and have families. That’s just about as blessed as you can be. All three are gone now and their wives. My brother served in Vietnam and came home. I absolutely get chills and almost tear up thinking of the sacrifices of other families. My family sings and stands and appreciates what veterans have given us. Thank you veterans for the land of the free……..

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Never forget our Veterans living and those who have seen the Glory of God! Never forget the names of the ones you know and talk of them!
    Add special prayers for our Marines and
    Our Navy Seals some of the finest warriors America has! These men go into kill and are killed somewhere regularly for our Country and You . Speak of these warriors often.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 10:32 am

    West Virginia has long been known for being a patriotic state. I spent hours placing pictures in one of our FB family groups of many who served. They are very proud of my gr Uncle Kenna Monroe Lester who served in WW11. He was awarded the Navy Cross for valor even though he was in the Army. Apparently he asked to crawl behind enemy lines quietly to use grenades to take out some artillery that threatened his unit. I feel certain he learned this skillful maneuver roaming in the mountains of West Virginia as a young boy. He had a difficult life, as he lost his Mother at a young age to the Flu Epidemic of 1918. Many of the children lived here and yon until they were grown. I met him and he hardly appeared to be the hero type. He was a soft spoken unpretentious country boy.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 10:22 am

    I wish to thank all our veterans for their service!!! I had four uncles who served in WW11, and one of them, my Uncle Sgt. Grady Lee Young, Air Force, was reported missing in action in 1945. They later found his tags and bones in the Philippine Islands where his plane was shot down. Some of his remains were shipped back to his parents in N.E. MS., and buried in Corinth, MS. My heart always thinks about this precious young man that was so looking forward to getting back to his family’s farm and like many others gave the ultimate sacrifice.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    November 11, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Thank you. God bless all of our veterans! Take care and God bless!

  • Reply
    Henry Collins
    November 11, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for this post and I thank all other veterans. My dad joined the Seabees during WEII. He had a deferred job at the copper mine at Eagle Creek and did not have to go, He served in the pacific went ashore on Pelieu with the 1st Marines. I did my active time in the Navy during the Vietnam era. Came home and spent 26 more years in the Navy Reserve. I now have a grandson on active duty in the Navy.

  • Reply
    James Obenchain
    November 11, 2021 at 9:46 am

    I to was in During Vietnan But spent my service time at New Cumberland Army Depot PA. outside Harrisburg Pa. I was a machinist and made thousands of skid mounted machine gunmounts. The helocopters were flown
    from Fort Campbell and Fort Rucker So we could make the mods. Where I was at there were 4,000Civilians and 150 Gi,s May 1963v to May 1965.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Like you, Tipper, most proud Southern families have multiple veterans past and present. Why does “the South contribute more than it’s fair share of personnel”? Some think a warrior culture has been developed by locating military bases in Southern states. Others believe the reason goes way back to strong Scots-Irish heritage. There are many articles written about this question: why “in some parts of America the call to duty is heard more clearly than in others.” (Quotes taken from published articles)

    Thank God for all those who serve. When at a restaurant, we always try to be on the lookout for a veteran (the older gentlemen wear ball caps) and anonymously pay for their meal. It’s an honor to do so.

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    November 11, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Thank you for this post. I have often wondered who the person in Vietnam was in your post about “My People”. I thank your Uncle Henry for his service. I know several friends who served in Vietnam who had problems because of Agent Orange. I appreciate Uncle Henry’s service to our country. My father was a WWII veteran. I spent a lot of time at the VA Hospital in Columbia, SC with him; he received excellent care there and I appreciate the Doctors and Nurses who worked there. I was in the Army from 1967 to 1971 serving in Turkey and at Fort Bragg, NC. Comments like yours are really appreciated, thank you so much.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Thanks to all our service men and women who service our country either on American solid or foreign lands. Your service to keep world safe is greatly appreciated. God Bless you all.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Sincere appreciation and love of all our active and retired military personnel for their service and sacrifice. Fair winds and following seas.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 9:22 am

    I’m so happy I subscribed! Your posts make my day! I would like to enter the giveaway. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 9:15 am

    What a beautiful tribute. I echo your Come Home. Long Life. Surrounded by Family and Friends. And especially Thankful for Veterans’ Service.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    November 11, 2021 at 9:03 am

    America is “the land of the free” because it is “the home of the brave…”


  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    November 11, 2021 at 9:02 am

    My dad’s only brother, Dew, was at the battle of the Bulge. My dad tried to enlist but was turned down because of a bad hernia. Uncle Dew made it back but had ptsd…I remember he never talked about the war or went to any funerals, could not be around death.
    I thank all vets…you stepped up…I am grateful.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 8:58 am

    A big thank you to all veterans and those still active in the military! My ex-husband was in Vietnam and fought on the front line for most of his time there. He never talked about it to me. I heard from older family members some of the horrors he experienced in the jungle, horrors that haunted him for the rest of his life. His exposure to Agent Orange sent him to an early grave.
    I was still in elementary school when my first ‘boyfriend’ was sent to Vietnam and never returned. The little country highway where he lived was recently renamed in his honor. Thank you Pike County for recognizing a true hero!

  • Reply
    Patricia Hollingsworth
    November 11, 2021 at 8:57 am

    Hello Tipper! Once more I’ve had my morning Tipper fix over hot chocolate. I have listened to so many of your dads, brothers, and daughters songs and my soul is moved over many of the hymns. What a talented family you have! I will hope my name is drawn for Pap’s cd. May God bless all our veterans and their families. I thank all the wonderful veterans for being willing to serve so I may continue living my life in a country I love so much!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 8:42 am

    May God Bless All of our Veterans, it’s because of them we have the Freedom we enjoy today. I have a T-shirt I proudly wear that says “Only two things protect America, the Grace of Almighty God and the United States Military.”
    Thanks to all the men & women who have served and still serve in our armed forces.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 11, 2021 at 8:39 am

    I thank you veterans, each and all. Going into one of the services is a leap into the dark in some ways; no knowing where you will be sent nor what the situation may be nor how long you might be gone. And the only things ‘homey’ will be within the unit but a lot of homey things will be missing. Only those who have been there and done it can know it from the inside and that forever sets you apart in a measure from those of us who have not lived it. I expect you each have one or more lessons to teach us but some of them are hard to put into words. I think one of them is, ‘be thankful for what you have and those who help you keep it.’

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 7:34 am

    I want to thank all of the veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices. I had two uncles to serve during WW11 , one was POW and another uncle to serve in Korea. My daddy was turned down several times because one of his legs was slightly shorter than the other but was finally excepted near the end of WW11. I had a cousin, Broadus Alfred Whitt, killed in Vietnam on March 22, 1968. He was one of the finest young men you could ever meet and was only over there for about 6 weeks. .My small country church had 7 young boys to go to Vietnam, all made it back except for Alfred. The draft for Vietnam was stopped just as I turned 18, I didn’t have to go. I have just finished reading a book titled The Greatest Beer Run. It is a true book and has a lot of information about theVietnam war and especially the Tet Offensive that started around Jan. or Feb. of 1968.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    November 11, 2021 at 7:28 am

    I never got to know my Granddaddy as he died in WWII. He died in January of 45. He almost made it home. Life would have been so different for my Dad if he had. I have been told my family that he was the sweetest man they had ever known. His nickname was Punk, I don’t know the history behind that, so I have alway called him Granddaddy Punk. He died in Luxemburg and is buried in a large American cemetery there. He died for all our freedom and so that is something I truly believe we should alway fight for. He was married to my Grandmother Zelma who I never got to know as well. I think of them so often and what war time was like for the both of them.

  • Reply
    Martha D Justice
    November 11, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Heartfelt thanks to all the men and women who served our great country. Also thanks to their families who stayed behind to take care of their children and their homes, they sacrificed as much as the veterans themselves.

  • Reply
    Noah Phillips
    November 11, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for sharing. I’m most grateful for all who have served.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    November 11, 2021 at 6:57 am

    This was an excellent post, Tipper. I really enjoyed reading it. I don’t want to be entered in the giveaway, I want all your other readers to win!! I am proud of your Dad’s and my Dad’s service for this country. My Dad was in the Air Force, and spent his time stationed in Japan. Whether our servicemen are in peace time or war time, it is still a major sacrifice they and their families give to our country. I have deep admiration to every current active duty, and past veterans. Thank you to all for giving your time, and putting your life on the line, to protect my life and freedoms.

    Donna. : )

  • Reply
    Nancy Johnson
    November 11, 2021 at 6:51 am

    Thank you to all who have served, both men and women.

  • Reply
    Mary Anne Johnson
    November 11, 2021 at 6:51 am

    My uncle Buddy served in the Army in WW2. The tank he was in blew up. killing everyone but him. This was in the middle of winter. He hid out in a cemetery until he was found by an American soldier. He came home after spending months in a VA hospital. He went to bed and was never able to come downstairs even. He spent 40 years fighting the demons in his mind.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 11, 2021 at 6:47 am

    Yes! A big thank you to all our veterans, because of them….we live free!

  • Reply
    Mary Retaleato
    November 11, 2021 at 6:38 am

    So thankful for all veterans who give us the ability to be and stay free.

  • Reply
    John Hart
    November 11, 2021 at 6:34 am

    Thank God for veterans.

    • Reply
      Danilee Varner
      November 11, 2021 at 7:01 am

      Yes, we are so thankful for all veterans!
      We have and have had many serve on our family! God bless them!

  • Reply
    Tina Huffman
    November 11, 2021 at 6:33 am

    My dad was turned down to serve because he had flat feet. He was born in 1939. Both my brothers served. One spent his time in California and Spain during his time in the Navy. The other never left the states during his time in the Army. Very proud of both of them. I have been with the VA as a nurse for 17 years during my 30 year stint as a registered nurse. I too love the men and women I have had the pleasure of serving over the years. Such a blessing to be a part of caring for Veterans and some of the stories I’ve heard made me laugh until I cried. Other stories made me cry wondering how they ever found the courage to laugh again. God bless our Veterans! God bless those who continue to serve! Thank you to all who chose to travel the road less traveled.

  • Reply
    Douglas Uhlmann
    November 11, 2021 at 6:27 am

    I want to thank you for this wonderful post. I retired out of the Navy in 03 after 20 years. Now it seems like so long ago. But talking with other Vets and Retirees is so fun. There are those that won’t go into things, so we give them there space. It is understood. But to be able to have that bond among all of us is special. Your Blog and the YouTube channel is wonderful, as well as the girls also. I was raised on a small country home in Michigan, where we hunted and fished and a snack was “The carrots and radishes are in the garden” and you were out all day till dark. Thank you for all you do and for your stories, for sharing part of your life with us. It truly means alot.

  • Reply
    Kevin Knight
    November 11, 2021 at 6:24 am

    You are very welcome. I tried ( to be all that I could be) and serve my country during a controversial time in our nation. I remember getting off a plane in Washington DC, and there were protesters throwing rotten eggs at people in uniform. Seemed like a real disgrace to me. I personally honor all veterans regardless of the branch of military. May God bless America.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 6:11 am

    Thanks to all our servicemen!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 5:48 am

    I go to the VA hospital in Huntington W.VA. for my care and the oldest veteran I have seen recently was a Korean veteran. I seldom see a world war 2 veteran any more. There is now lots of Vietnam vets and we are fast becoming the oldest vets. I have refused to get old but it keeps happening anyways! I look forward to seeing loved ones in Heaven some day but can’t say I’m thrilled about the process to get there. That made me think of a song an uncle sang in church years ago. Ever bidy wunts to go to heaven but nobidy wunts to die. Spell check hit hard on that song title but that was how it was pronounced. E.KY.

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