Jim HoffmanCONSIDER THISFree Press Opinion Columnist

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February 21, 2013
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HOFFMAN: The hopes & wishes all veterans have

As I sat with my wife and parents on Feb. 14 enjoying the Grass Roots perform at the Avalon Theatre, it struck me as to the diversity of a segment of our population we call "veterans."It was nice that people underwrote the cost of these "Valentines for Veterans" concerts at 14 venues nationwide. It was doubly nice that Grand Junction was selected this year. I had actually forgotten all the songs the Grass Roots had done so many years back and enjoyed the show. The audience as a whole got a good chuckle when the band introduced their "latest hit single" from the year 1975. Back to topic: The diversity of veterans. While I still consider myself a youngster among the veteran population, the fact the Grass Roots' fan base would probably place me as an average age member seems to indicate that "spring chicken" is not a description that could be applied to me. Visits to the Denver VA Hospital from the early '70s are recalled in which the halls seemed crowded with old men; perhaps I have now become one of them. There are still plenty of old guys, so I can continue to delude myself into thinking that I am a youngster. Veterans serve and have served their nation regardless of the righteousness of the war, police action or whatever other name has been applied to the many military excursions. They have served based on the fact they were asked to serve, seldom questioning the orders. Yes, there have been lives sacrificed in vain for ignoble causes. There have been lives given for honorable causes. It has not always followed that the death of some requires the death of more so that the first killed did not die in vain. Veterans have found themselves to be political fodder for wars, political campaigns and causes. Many claim some mystic insight into the service provided and how it relates to our various freedoms. Frequently, those marshaling an argument for a cause as a natural consequence of a veteran's sacrifice have not an inkling of who served or why they served. One recently proclaimed that we fought so that political campaigns had the right to "robo-calls" - never have I felt my service more trivialized. Anyone who tries to create "veteran" as a single demographic is as far off the mark as one who thinks "Hispanics" all share the same concerns. We, veterans, are a vast array of many demographics. We are urban, rural, educated, un-educated, NRA members, peaceniks, conservative, liberal, young, old, etc. The one thing we have in common is that we served. Some who served returned home to ticker-tape parades, some none, some returned to scorn, others to applause and slaps on the back. Regardless of the nature of our welcome home, we did return. Some of us loudly trumpet our service no matter how long ago; others observe their service in a more private manner. Some returned home damaged and found precious few resources to repair themselves. One thing we have in common is that the promises made were not always kept. One thing we have in common is we kept our promise. We took an oath to serve and did. We served where sent and served to the best of our abilities. Some were acknowledged as heroes. Most served without accolades. We served, maybe we went to college on the GI Bill or bought a home with a VA loan; maybe we were disabled by our service and received compensation and medical care. Most of you do not know us; we are just part of the fabric of America. We need no daily thanks or recognition. There may be one additional common thread we share. We hope that our future troops are used with wisdom. We hope they receive the benefits and services promised. We hope they not have their lives expended in vain.Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 21, 2013 02:25PM Published Feb 21, 2013 02:24PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.