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Be sure to thank a veteran this Sunday

Published 9:06am Thursday, November 8, 2012

Column: Thanks for Listening

Two days ago, you voted. Please thank a veteran.

You see, voting, speech, assembly and the freedom of the press are just a few of the liberties we now take for granted, but they are among the many liberties men and women have fought and died for. I worry, as some of our veterans are getting older, that we will lose the true meaning of Veterans Day.

Our flag, our hope, our freedom is linked directly to the soldiers and veterans who gave it to us. These brave heroes need to be remembered every day, not once a year, and never as ordinary. Our soldiers should be respected, but so to are the soldiers’ families.

The loved ones of a soldier have a different battlefront. They have to manage the home front. When you have children missing their parents, bills to pay, chores to do, and, of course, missing your own wife or husband, life is hard. Thank you to all of the veterans, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and their families who have fought, persevered and died so that we as a nation can be free.


Country show was cool

Last week the Country Music Awards were on, and it really was an amazing show. Growing up with country music as a staple in my home was a lot of fun.

My dad loved country and my sisters Kathy and Cindi formed a duo and sang at the local telethons and at all of the school talent shows.

My sister Kathy later formed her own band with my cousins called the Silver Creek Band, and they played all over the Upper Peninsula for years.

Aside from the telethons and later the band, my favorite part of my sisters both singing was the fact that it turned any get-together at the Schmeltzer home into a country singalong. I fondly remember my sister Kathy strumming her guitar while both her and Cindi sang all of my mom and dad’s favorites.

My dad loved Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and the Statler Brothers, so the list of songs of course included “Ring of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “I Still Miss Someone,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough.” The Statler Brothers’ big hits were “Flowers on the Wall,” “Class of 57” and “Bed of Roses.”

I remember bringing my friends in, and we would sit in the living room listening to everyone singing away and having fun. We had so many people over, our little kitchen would be just bursting with fun. My sisters also would mix in a lot of their favorites as well so we would hear John Prine, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Dr. Hook, Elvis, Bob Seger and Motown. I did not realize it back then, but this eclectic mix of tunes would end up being the soundtrack to my life and guide me into loving so many different genres of music now.

Watching the CMAs last week was like a small trip down memory lane as the current group of country stars is really remarkable. When you have the talents of Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, The Band Perry, Tim McGraw, The Zac Brown Band and Jason Aldean all rocking out great new country tunes and then see the original road warrior Willie Nelson still strumming away historic tunes, it just makes you happy.

There is a country song by Barbara Mandrel that is called “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t
Cool.” That song title is how I grew up and I hope that my sisters and family know how grateful I am for such great music teachers.


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.