We in the Ocala Palms (OP) community have so much to be grateful for. I had planned on reporting about the Veterans Day ceremony held annually at the Ocala Palms Veterans Park. However, a wild and furious storm by the name of Nicole put a damper on those plans. I have spoken to several new residents throughout this year, and they were pepped up to attend the service.

Although Nicole caused much damage elsewhere, we are thankful we weren’t in her path of destruction. The decision was made to cancel the festivities this year in order to keep us safe. We all know the weather is out of our control, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

That’s not to say that we can’t show in our hearts the pride, love, and kindness we all have for those who took the oath to protect our country. Additionally, we don’t need to wait until Nov. 11 every year to show our appreciation to any veteran. Let’s do this at least once a week or more often, if possible.

I challenge each of you to either make a phone call, send a text, email, or card, or speak to a veteran or current military person in a store, etc. and tell them we thank them for their service. I’m sure you will bring a smile to their face!

I recall when my brothers served in the Navy, our mother wrote to them every week. I was still pretty young then, but she would have our sister and I write a few lines too. They both said years later that it was always nice to hear from home. I do recall, my brothers didn’t have the best handwriting or spelling so not to be mean or anything, our mother would correct the spelling and put question marks and circle the words which were not legible or misspelled. She would then return to them along with her letters reporting of any news in the family, etc. Back in those days, telephone calls were not cheap, and you couldn’t always get thru on “party” lines! I know most in today’s world would not understand that. LOL Needless to say, later in life both brothers’ handwriting and spelling improved, and both were very successful in life, so her corrections paid off.

Getting back to Veterans Day, the OP Veterans Committee worked hard with the plans to produce fantastic services for both Veterans and Memorial Days, and we thank them for that. Hopefully, a short service will take place Dec. 7 in honor of those lost on Pearl Harbor Day. Please mark your calendar for that date.

A portion of the Veterans Day service was to have OP resident and Navy veteran James “Sam” Sampson read a poem he wrote. Since this didn’t happen, Sam gave me permission to share the following poem. I feel this is not only for the wives of veterans, but for any mother who sent her sons to serve our country. Time passes too quickly for those little boys to turn into young men, and we appreciate all those (women too) who choose to serve.

Thanks to Sam for sharing the following poem.

‘A Veteran’s Wife’

A veteran’s wife is a treasure of immeasurable love and care,

Her dedication and support are the cornerstone of the Veteran’s career.

Always taking care of the veteran throughout his daily life,

Weathering any storm with grace through times of trouble and strife.

The veteran’s wife is always supportive, forever by his side,

The pride she shows in the veteran, she will never hide.

She is forever dedicated to the family that her and the veteran bore.

Forever showing devotion, the veteran need not ask for more.

Holding the family together while the veteran defended our country,

The veteran’s wife handled the situation calmly and ever so humbly.

Throughout the many moves, an example of patience and aplomb.

For any kind of situation, the veteran’s wife would overcome.

Pack here, unpack there, she showed her skills at organization,

Managing these huge tasks deserves the utmost admiration.

Always a wonderful mother and an inspiration to all,

Along with her veteran husband, she always answered the call.

The veteran’s wife is a wonderful example of honor and devotion,

When the veteran got promoted, she got a higher promotion.

Deservedly so, as time has shown this to be very true,

For the veteran’s wife has always helped us see it through.

We should always honor the veteran’s wife for we cannot do without,

She is and always has been a steadfast partner, for that there is no doubt.

So, every day we thank her for all the love and care she has provided,

The veteran has an angel with whom he should forever be undivided.

Thank you to the veterans’ wives, you are angels in our midst.

– James W. (Sam) Sampson, U.S. Navy veteran

I’d like to take this time to acknowledge the work of the Ocala Palms Veterans’ Command Group, Honor Guard and Support staff. These people spend many hours planning, organizing, etc. the numerous details in order to conduct the finest ceremonies to honor veterans. We thank them, and although this year, the service needed to be canceled, safety is important. We hope the future ceremonies will be able to be held on a timely basis.

Stay well everyone, thank a veteran and smile!

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