Remember our vets as holiday lights go up

'Tis the season.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and then the shopping mania will begin.

Sometimes I think that we have forgotten what Christmas is all about. In this great country, we talk about celebrating peace and good will towards all men, and yet we find our sons and daughters in foreign countries defending our freedom from an enemy called terrorism.

I think that the holidays are more and more commercialized as every year passes. It is not even Thanksgiving, and there are Christmas lights everywhere. The TV commercials on special Christmas savings started right after Halloween. For men and women serving in uniform, it makes the holidays much more difficult.

Every man and woman that served this country in uniform has spent at least one or maybe all their time away from home during the holidays. Remember what that was like? I spent the holidays sharing a meal with people I barely knew, sitting in a mess hall trying to enjoy a holiday meal the sergeant major required all enlisted men and their families to attend. That was Thanksgiving, Germany 1974.

Christmas wasn't much better. As we spend time with family during the holidays, let's not take these men and women for granted.

Each year the Blue Star Mothers Chapter here in Montezuma County puts together boxes for those serving in the military. The boxes are filled with essentials that may be needed and goodies and letters from loved ones. There are boxes in different locations around the county for your donations. If you miss the boxes, the Blue Star Mothers will be putting together the boxes on Sunday Dec. 1. at 1 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 320 North Harrison St. (three blocks north of City Market). For more information, contact Sandi Valencia at 970-560-2572. Your donations are greatly appreciated.

Upcoming events

The Public is invited to the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 44, 2nd Annual Veterans Christmas Bazaar on Sunday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the American Legion Hall, 320 N Harrison St. (three blocks north of City Market). The Bazaar is for a good cause and a great place to do some holiday shopping for that special person who likes unique gifts. There will be crafters, artists, vendors and food available for sale. Proceeds go to the Disabled American Veterans Transportation Fund. The DAV van is used to transport veterans in Montezuma County to their VA medical appointments in Durango, Farmington and the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Hospital in Albuquerque. All available tables have been sold, For information, contact Darla Sanders at 970-560-2793.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, Japan declared war upon the United States by attacking Pearl Harbor and drawing this country into WWII. As the days pass, the number of men and women who served in this war are leaving our ranks, and so on this day we wish to honor this group of servicemen and women that are called "The Greatest Generation." Montezuma County Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 5231 and its Ladies Auxiliary, along with Disabled American Veterans Chapter 44, will host a luncheon to recognize veterans in the county who served during WWII. The luncheon will be held Saturday, Dec. 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the County Annex, located at the corner of Montezuma Avenue and North Chestnut. If you have a WWII veteran in your family who is not in a nursing home and would like to attend, contact Richard Kriner at 970-739-6270 or Rick Torres at 970-564-2779. These gentlemen have spent many hours contacting the local nursing homes to put this event together. Please join us in recognizing these WWII veterans.

The American Legion invites the public to attend its Annual Children's Gift Bag Give Away on Saturday, Dec. 21 at noon on the Corner of South Market and Main Street. The Cortez Fire Department and the Men's Motorcycle Club will be there to help Santa distribute gifts to children. Call John Shriner at 970-565-9095 or American Legion at 970-565-8151. Santa comes but once a year.

I met the Cortez Journal's new managing editor, Trent Stephens. He is a very nice gentleman, and I feel has a good heart when it comes to our veterans. Trent, welcome to Cortez.

Robert Valencia is a retired Army Sergeant First Class, member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and American Legion. Reach him at 970-560-1891. Listen to Veterans Forum the last Friday of each month at 8:30 a.m. on KSJD FM 90.5, 91.5.