Saturday, April 19, 2014

Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

6/5 MI Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

June 04, 2013

Now that we've turned the page on the calendar to June, summertime is so close we can almost taste it.

We are dreaming of hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken on the grill, potato salad and baked beans, and gallons of lemonade. We can't wait for those lazy days in the hammock and a stack of good summer books to read, with nothing to do but be lazy, watch the birds circling overhead, and listen to the happy laughter of the neighbor kids playing down the street.

Sometimes the dreams have to be revised a bit to include dealing with all those pesky weeds in the garden and assembling jars for jelly and jam. Putting up strawberry jam was a big item on the "to-do" list last week, and the raspberries will be ripe before we know it.

All the vegetable gardens in MI Town are beginning to look mighty appealing and it won't be long before we can share the bounty with each other.

This is only one of the many blessings of life in our wonderful Willamette Valley.

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With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror for another year, let's hope that all the parades, ceremonies and events that honored our veterans won't disappear from our collective memories until it's time to haul out the red, white and blue for Fourth of July celebrations.

It's so easy to put on our best patriotic faces and stand up when the Star Spangled Banner is played at baseball games and civic events, but how many of us truly appreciate the sacrifices of generations of men and women who have proudly worn a military uniform and traveled to faraway places to help make our country -- and our world -- a better place for humanity?

An entire generation of military veterans have seen service in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and, unlike other wars, have returned to the front lines of battle over and over again in the years following 9/11.

Our military and civilian hospitals and rehabilitation centers have seen hundreds of young men and women whose minds and bodies need to be healed and restored as much as possible.

What can we do to help? Employers can make the effort to hire a veteran, whenever possible. Take time to listen to the concerns of family members. Volunteer to read or write letters or just visit with someone injured who needs a few minutes of your time.

Let's not wait until the next holiday to be grateful for the sacrifices so many of our young men and women have made for all of us, so that we can enjoy the gift of freedom.

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