Where are all the yellow ribbons'
June 23, 2009
- Small community with a big heart on the Army's Birthday
- Department of the Army Civilian spouse spearheads community efforts
- Fewer "Yellow Ribbons" may not mean a decline in community support
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. Aca,!aEURc Three to four years ago, yellow ribbons that quietly, but proudly stated support to the nation's servicemen and women adorned New York State's Capital District. There might not have been a street or a neighborhood that didn't have at least one yellow ribbon hanging or a sign posted that stated, "We support our troops."
But, where have all the "yellow ribbons" gone'
National holidays, such as Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, come and go. And it seems to many observers that those who participate in these military-related holidays are pretty much the same folks every year.
In many cases, the ramrods of the ceremonies and parades that honor our Veterans and servicemembers come from the local American Legion and VFW posts.
Although their ranks are getting thinner, their hair greyer, and their step a little slower, these Veterans still find ways to fight against the urge to vacation or to shop on the national holidays.
Why do they do it' So that they may pay a personal and sometimes a profound respect to those who serve or who have served in our nation's military.
And just sometimes, someone without any military service or a community without a military post steps up to do what is right on our national holidays or on days that commemorate national observances.
Such was the case this past Flag Day, which coincidentally was on the Army's Birthday.
Meg Grenier hails from the small Village of Menands just north of Albany, N.Y. The community numbers about 4,000 residents.
Meg has never served a day in the military, but in full disclosure, her husband, Jim Grenier, is a Department of the Army Civilian who works at the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal.
Much has been written about Soldiers' spouses, but very little about the spouses of the civilian workforce who support our Army. These Department of the Army Civilians take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Yes, just like our Soldiers do.
This last Flag Day, Meg didn't go to the beach. She didn't go shopping. She simply planned, coordinated, and supervised a community-wide picnic to honor the local military.
How Meg and her small village was able to enlist the support of U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, Albany County Executive Michael Breslin, and the Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan on a very busy Flag Day for local political leaders speaks volumes about the passion that Meg and the Village of Menands have towards their military.
More than five percent of the Village turned out for this event to honor its military. Everything from the live bands to the slide show to the free food, were symbols to every servicemember and Veteran that the community still does care.
And this was not a one-time thought to recognize the local military. The Village of Menands recently collected and then shipped hundreds of care packages to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What Meg and the Village of Menands showed on Flag Day is that our military should not read too much into seeing reduced numbers of yellow ribbons in their hometowns. As long as there are American Legion Posts, VFW Posts, and people like Meg Grenier, the nation's military will always be honored.