Our hometown’s growth and economic development over the past few years has been nothing short of incredible, yet that is not the only reason for our advantage.
Our hometown’s quality of life and people values for decades has served as the envy of countless visitors, yet that is not the only reason for our preference by others.
Our hometown’s expanding diversity is giving us a favored reputation, one that says “this is where everybody lives, not just a chosen few,” yet that is not the only reason for our wholesome image.
Our hometown’s belief in family, church and neighborhood cohesion gives us a moral foundation, yet that is not the only reason our lifestyle is admired by many.
Our hometown’s commitment to quality education, to a broad business mix and to individual work ethic sets us apart, yet that is not the only reason we open the eyes of corporations looking for a new home.
One sometimes overlooked reason for our community’s edge is the priority we place on a chosen few, a group whose numbers are sadly dwindling.
In Cleveland and Bradley County, we do not forget the sacrifices made by those who came before us — those whose actions strengthened, and sustained, our American way of life. We do not neglect their needs. We do not devalue their presence — not because of age, not because of medical dependence, not because of limited income and certainly not because of any loss in community status.
In our hometown, hearts remain open — and always will remain open — to our veterans whose tired eyes, wrinkled faces and weathered frames seek only acceptance, and understanding, from those of a newer and less-tested generation.
Most local families still hold the distinction of having a military veteran somewhere in their midst. Their older soldiers fought in World War II in the 1940s and perhaps Korea in the 1950s. Their next generation of heroes defended freedom in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s. And their youngest patriots are survivors of military clashes in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 1990s and beyond, all the way to present day.
Their valor forever will be remembered.
Their courage will take center stage among friends, acquaintances and loved ones, all of whom call Cleveland and Bradley County their home.
They will be admired in life just as they will be honored in death.
All these reasons, and for so very many more, are why in this community we pay homage to the Patriotic Veteran of the Year, an award that is bestowed annually on Veterans Day. Because the observance this year falls on a Sunday, the somber, yet inspiring, ceremony will take place on Monday, Nov. 12. The ceremony will be held on the Courthouse Plaza.
Anyone can nominate a veteran for this esteemed honor — a loved one, a friend, a co-worker, a civic club co-member, a retiree, a business leader or others. Nomination forms are available in the Veterans Affairs Office of the Bradley County Courthouse in Room 105.
Those who wish to have a beloved veteran considered for this honor should hurry. Application deadline is Thursday, Nov. 1. Nominated veterans are not required to be members of a veterans organization in order to be eligible for the Bradley County award.
Completed nomination forms must include basic information including the nominee’s name and address, educational background and a brief history of the individual’s military service.
The United States of America was built on the shoulders of veterans whose willingness to die for love of their country outweighed any desire to live in a world where freedom is just a word and oppression is the law of the day.
We salute our veterans.
We urge others in our community to do the same by sending in nominations for this much-deserved award.