Justin Blowers

I do hope that my last column spurred some of you to vote in yesterday’s primaries, but today is a new day.

A day that has two little known holidays and one that definitely bears celebrating.

The first is National Grammar Day. Even though I am a writer, we can forget about this one, just don’t tell the English majors I said that.

The March 4 holiday that I feel we need to celebrate is Hug a G.I. Day.

The community and surrounding areas here are always aware of how many servicemen and women, both active duty and retired, call the Wiregrass their home. Today, however, is for the still enlisted.

So today, let them know they are appreciated. Let them know we applaud their bravery for enlisting. Let them know that we support them.

Let them know that we thank them not only for their service to the country but also to the community. Let them know that our community is a better place for having them here. Let them know that we enjoy their company while they are here. That even though new orders can send them away in just a few years, they will always have a home here.

Even better is that you can express all of these sentiments at one time with one simple gesture: a hug.

A hug is so simple yet so powerful. A hug can make a terrible day, not so bad. A hug can make a hard time not so hard. A hug can provide that escape a person needs, if only for a few seconds. A hug can be that support that a person needs to get through the day.

You don’t have to be an enlisted member of the military to know that the path they have chosen is not easy. So they might need that hug. Remember, this is a world where we lose 22 veterans a day to suicide so the solidarity and comfort of such a small act of kindness cannot be overstated.

As I wrap this up, let me make something very clear: we should appreciate the people who serve and have served every day. We are still here because of them. We enjoy the freedoms we still have everyday because of them. There’s so much to thank them for and be appreciative of that I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to list them all.

So, when I say celebrate Hug a G.I., I don’t just mean today. It helps that today is the national day for it, but do it everyday or once a week if you can’t manage that. This is not a call to let our service members know that we appreciate them only on this day. It’s a call to make sure you always remember to appreciate them everyday, starting today if you hadn’t before.

So go out and hug a G.I. They deserve it.

Justin Blowers is a staff writer for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are his own and not the opinion of the paper. He can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at jblowers@southeastsun.com.

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