nita johnson

It's the week before election time and the TV screens are blazing with political ads for several state offices. These ads are "interesting" as always and make their final points to implore citizens to cast their votes next Tuesday.

My own terminology for political ads fall into two categories - the "retain and maintain" or the "change and change" policies. The Gubernatorial election is filled with those messages, while the Secretary of State and Agricultural Commissioner races have played more low key than those geared at who should hold the top seat of Kentucky.

It is indeed a time of change in our state. Our students are undergoing new testing systems - to prove how well we prepare our children to face an uncertain world. But, in reality, hasn't the world always been uncertain?

The average citizen hasn't the slightest clue of what threats we face from other countries until our government informs us of the events that have taken place. But with the national media performing in the manner it has chosen over the past five years, who could blame the governmental offices from withholding vital information until the last minute?

The War of the Republicans and Democrats in Washington D.C. is enough alone to cause sleepless nights, but the American people seemingly have adjusted to the continuous controversy and continue to struggle along with their daily lives in the best manner possible.

While early November brings the state elections this year, it is every November that we honor our American veterans - those who sacrificed their freedom to ensure that we do as well - as a country, as an individual.

This Saturday, London and Laurel County will host its annual Veterans Honors, beginning at 11:45 a.m. at the Laurel County Courthouse. That ceremony is always a moving and emotional event and one that every person in this community should attend at least one time. It is the history of our country, the realization that freedom has cost millions of people their time and their family members to ensure that the events of November that signify America remain intact.

In November we have the chance to make changes or continue the regimen of our political leadership at the state level. We have the option to choose who would best lead our state toward continued success and to cast our votes for the other offices to back up our state's leader. Kentucky has elevated to the national watch level on next week's election - one that could well determine the future growth and advancement of our state in the years ahead. It is one that is vitally important to the residents of this state and should be a priority for every registered voter to consider and act upon.

Veterans Day is also another opportunity for us to consider as a unique celebration of our country's history. Very few families in the London-Laurel community have not had a family member to sacrifice on behalf of their country. Nearly every family - at some point and time - has had a family member leave their hometown and embark on the mission of protecting this country and its people from the hierarchy of government take-over by communism and socialism. Every family has had that one person who served their country with dignity and pride, regardless of the controversy or circumstances of their individual service. The truth is, without our veterans, there would be no America, Land of the Brave and Home of the Free. Without our veterans, there would be no celebrations of election day or Thanksgiving or Veterans Day each November.

Our county and city is hosting its annual Veterans Day honors this Saturday. This is an event originated by Laurel County Judge-Executive David Westerfield - and joined by London Mayor Troy Rudder - to honor those who served their country and it is one that every individual in this county should support with their presence.

The streets of downtown London should be lined with the people of this community to show these men and women the respect they deserve but are so often slighted. It makes no difference of the length of time or particular duties performed during the time in our military. What matters most is that the strong sense of country and patriotism still prevails in this country after 243 years of existence - years in which people gave their own lives to ensure that we enjoy the freedoms that still set this country above all others. What matters is that there are still young men and women who honor their country through their service. What matters is that, regardless of all the trials we face as a country, that we still fly our flag with pride and dignity and that we still remain to most other countries as the beacon of hope for a better tomorrow.

I strongly encourage the citizens of this community to brave whatever weather Mother Nature bestows upon us this Saturday to show our military personnel the appreciation they deserve. We have the chance to honor our ancestors for their service to ensuring our continued freedom as well as to appreciate the younger generations who are still willing to serve their country. Just last week I was blessed to see two of our young Laurel County residents - my granddaughter Hannah Johnson and Jacoby Tuttle - take their oath and leave their hometown of London to serve in the United States Air Force.

We as a community should take pride in those who served on our behalf. They braved harsh and hot weather to give us the lifestyles we enjoy today. Surely we can sacrifice a few minutes of our time to come out and wave at the parade of those who served in the military who are still here to see the appreciation they deserve, as well as to remember those who have gone on after fulfilling their duty. Bring a picture or a poster of your family's present and past military personnel and celebrate them for their service.

The Laurel County Veterans celebration begins in front of the Laurel County Courthouse this Saturday, Nov. 2 at 11:45 a.m. A parade with our veterans will begin at 1 p.m. and will continue from the Kroger on Main Street to Carnaby Square. I implore, I challenge, the citizens of this community to show their true colors by participating in this event and showing our veterans that their service was - and still is - appreciated and revered. It's the least they deserve.

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