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We old soldiers should be proud of our service

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

I put a new sticker on the rear windshield of my almost new car. It shows the U.S. Army logo over these words: 

“Soldier For Life”. 

To me, it says I will always be proud of my time in the uniform of my country and that I will forever be a loyal supporter of the Army and other military branches. 

I realize there are millions of veterans who gave much more than me. I never saw combat. I never fired a shot in anger. I briefly served overseas but not during wartime. 

My 22+ years of volunteer service included the Army, Army Reserve and Kentucky Army National Guard. As a Guardsman on state active duty, I responded to floods, blizzards, tornadoes, fires and other civil emergencies. 

I have never sought medical help, G.I. Bill benefits or other assistance from the VA because those resources should go only to those vets who can’t afford to pay. 

I am a proud member of Corbie Ellington Post 126 of the American Legion. The Legion’s motto is very meaningful to me, “Serving God and Country since 1919”. 

The American flag is displayed at my home on national holidays and other special occasions. What I know about flag etiquette I learned as a soldier. That is also true about my experience with firearms. 

My limited driving experience with big trucks and heavy equipment came from the Army. The Army also gave me the first opportunity to shave every day and shine my footwear. 

What little I know about feeding large numbers of people and cleaning up after them I learned while serving as an Army mess sergeant. That skill has adapted well to family reunions, church outings and helping my wife raise eight kids. 

Yep, at 77, I’m proud as hell to be an old soldier.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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