SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - As we honor and recognize America’s 19-and-a-half million veterans, we also want to take stock of the country they sacrificed so much to protect.
That includes looking at several of the most transformative developments in 2020 that changed our country.
Those developments include the COVID-19 pandemic, the huge unemployment surge soon after, the worst social unrest in a generation and then the just-completed presidential election.
When asked if this is the same country he signed-on to protect, Willie Hill, Sr. said:
“I have lost a lot of my veteran friends during this year. And to be here today to witness this unveiling of this statue to honor our women veterans is a great pleasure. And it kind of chokes me up a little bit.”
Hill says he’s lost three relatives and at least eight friends to the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
Other veterans, like retired ROTC instructor Anthony Kveder, sees the issues of social unrest and the presidential election not as harbingers of trouble to come, but instead as imperfect people trying to navigate through complicated issues and events.
“It’s part of what we go through in this country, for our democracy. You know, we do these things so we can, you know, we have freedom of speech and all the things that come along with being an American. That’s just part of it," said Kveder.
Retired veteran and five time Purple Heart recipient, Ron Chatelain, delivered a word of caution that we don’t take our freedoms for granted.
“It still is a great country. But, our enemies are chomping at the bits every day to take these freedoms away from us, and more so in recent years. And the loss of freedom is just one day away from what we are. It just takes that one day," said Chatelain.
When it comes to the thorny issues of social unrest, and the worsening divide in our country seen in our elections, a shortage of mutual respect and unity are a threat. Just ask retired veteran Kathryn Davenport.
“It’s shocking. It’s amazing how this country has become like and forgot that we’re one nation and how they got it divided. And we have to realize we’re one nation under God," said Davenport.