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Service, sacrifice shine through in tough times

By Staff | Mar 6, 2009

Everyone in the Eastern Panhandle is familiar with the old adage, “If you don’t stand for something, you might fall for anything.” This is also the answer given by many of our service members and their families when asked, Why do you do it?

At a time when the news is filled with stories of corporate greed and irresponsibility, one small fraction of the American population has done just the opposite. Our service members and their families have volunteered to bear the heaviest burden.

Each of the Americans I am privileged to serve with here in Iraq has their own story. Unfortunately, for many and their families, the war will not end when they come home. It will live on with memories of their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Their sacrifice teaches us that the price is freedom is great. Ours is a nation that exists only because free men and women have bled for it. Their sacrifice teaches us the nobility of service.

West Virginia’s heritage is filled with stories of men and women who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. Their names are written into bridges and buildings throughout the Mountain State. They are etched into the stones of our cemeteries. Most precious of all, they live on in the memories and the hearts of those they loved, and in the freedom of the nation they served.

I am proud to say that I first learned the true meaning of the ideal of service from members of the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown. Members like Bill Howard and Rick Caruso, to name just a few, who by their everyday example challenge all of us to ask what we can do to be better citizens.

Coming from all walks of life and representing the rich diversity of the American people, our uniformed men and women, just like the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown, bring their skills and life experiences to where they are needed most. By their service they are doing something important with their lives.

Throughout our nation’s history, our armed forces have adapted and responded to the issues of the times. In an ever-changing world, these volunteers are meeting these new challenges with innovation, creativity, determination, and compassion. These are the qualities that have allowed, and continue to allow, America’s best and brightest to achieve their mission.

Let us pay tribute to their service and thank them and their families for all that they do for America.

– Tom Maiden lives in Shepherdstown with his wife and four children. When not serving as a Citizen Sailor Tom works part-time teaching insurance & financial planning at Shepherd University and owns a financial planning practice in Shepherdstown.