Gene Ross, a member of American Legion Post No. 47, carries the flag to be hoisted for a Veterans Day ceremony in 2020, together with Kevin Ross Bailey, left, and Travis Bartley. Credit: Alexander MacDougall / Houlton Pioneer Times

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As Veterans Day approaches, I’m reminded of a conversation with my friend and former mail carrier, Rodney Noyes, a Navy veteran who served during World War II aboard the USS Franklin, the most damaged ship ever to make it back to her berth under her own power.

After thanking him for allowing me to raise my children in peace and safety, I told him how much I admired his generation. One would have to admit their resume is pretty impressive.

After surviving the Great Depression, they marched off to war, won it, secured the peace and came home to a joyous welcome from a grateful nation. Many veterans entered or re-entered the workforce, while others chose to complete their education courtesy of the GI Bill.

They married, bought homes, raised their families, meanwhile creating an economic juggernaut.

I was fortunate to have three brothers in that generation. Sadly they, like many others of that era, have passed away. There are many things I could have, should have and now wish I would have asked them.

If you have friends or family from that era, you should cherish them and learn all you can from their vast wealth of wisdom and experience while they are still with you, for I fear we will never see their like again in our lifetimes.

I have chosen to speak only of World War II veterans, but that is not to slight Korean veterans, Vietnam veterans or veterans of more recent conflicts. My thanks to all of them and God’s richest blessings on one and all.

Joan Pickering