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Remembering our veterans

A couple patriotic things I am regretful about now that I’m in my mid 40s are these: I have never served our great country by joining a branch of the U.S. armed forces, nor have I ever participated in any gathering around a public memorial on Veterans Day or Memorial Day in order to give tribute to those brave souls who have served our country.

I cannot change the former situation, as I inquired when my son enlisted two years ago ” they said I was too old. However, the latter item I changed yesterday, Veterans Day, when I mingled into the humble gathering around the memorial next to the Pitkin County Courthouse.

My only motivation at the time was because my 19-year-old son, Lance Cpl. James Baker, and my 18-year-old daughter, Pfc. Cassandra Baker, are now proudly serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and I thought it would be a way to support them in their absence.

I wasn’t expecting an emotional reaction in my own heart, but when veterans from our own community came forward and testified, and the Aspen fifth-grade class decked out in their red, white and blue sang a couple of patriotic songs, I almost “lost my bearing” (an emotional reaction that a leatherneck drill instructor will demand that you do not lose).

Nevertheless, there were not many dry eyes, including mine. I’m very glad I went. It was the little thing that I could do. It’s a simple way to recognize the local and distant heroes, acknowledge their bravery and courage and remember why we all can live in freedom and safety.

Next time I’m going to encourage my wife and the rest of my children to assemble. I would encourage you to come, also.

Jim Baker

Aspen


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