There are many ways of expressing gratitude. Words are often elusive. One of the most traditional and personal ways is a thank you letter. This is what I want to share with you today,
Today is Veteran’s Day and throughout our country we celebrate and honor all who have served in our military. Here, in our Valley, we join together in meaningful ways and I am always moved by the depth and warmth of our own local events. They are powerful in their simplicity and give voice and expression that connects us.
Today, as I think of you, my thoughts go to the meaning of service and patriotism. To serve a country, preserve its ideals, protect its government, the rights of its citizens and their freedom is an act of commitment and trust, but most importantly it’s an act of love – love of country and all that makes us great and good. It is a torch that has been passed on since the very spark that created our country. It was demonstrated in the fields and mountains that surround this Village in the form of a Militia under the leadership of Colonel John Hathorn. It is the continuity from generation to generation, through times of war and peace that is a tribute to the understanding of our identity as Americans. Your unselfish actions as soldiers has protected this mighty and inspired experiment we call Democracy. You have insured and allowed freedom to grow, to flourish and have asked for so little in return.
How can we measure such a gift? There is no scale to measure the human spirit and the profound call to serve and protect.
How we as individuals show our love of country is personal but always meaningful. Your patriotism is shown through everyday acts and courage, and reminds us of what is important and not always obvious. I have learned so much from you and what it means to be an American. Over the many years I have served our community you have shown me, and all of us, the great value of allegiance and honor. Your example, pride of duty and country is the foundation of patriotism. It is why our democracy through the worst of storms remains intact.
The simplest words are thank you and these words echo across this country. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and all that it has allowed. Although these are simple words they are spoken from the heart and I hope you will accept them with the full meaning of their intent.
The above column, written by Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, has been published in the Nov. 13 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.