Don’t Forget Vets

Here I go again with my annual reminder, as Halloween turned to Christmas, even here in Florida.

My dad in the Army

Both on the radio and in the stores the corporations who seek to control us are telling us to start buying things that many can’t afford for those who could often do without.

Let’s slow down a bit and think about Veterans Day, Election Day, and Thanksgiving, which has been overtaken by Black Friday.

Thanksgiving VS. Black Friday, can’t you hear the difference in values? Of course we can but corporations aside from grocery stores profit little from Thanksgiving and Black Friday gets people trampling on each other to buy all kinds of products.

Back to veterans, I read a story aloud about the late and great Joey Theinert this week, and the latter time I said it with a microphone and a group of people, without tears or anxiety. Look out world!

We help each other in the memoir group I joined and I was going to share another story, next week, with a few tips on using less words.

It’s a story I wrote for The East Hampton Star that I think received the most shares and views.

My writing became concise out of necessity. The most words I could have for an article was 1200 and that had to be a really important topic or a week when we had a lot of advertisers.

Although I commended The Star for not allowing advertisers to dictate their stories, when there were fewer ads, we had less space to share our articles and photographs.

It’s the nature of the business. Journalism depends on advertisers or support from subscribers. Free speech isn’t free of expenses.

Back to the story, I pitched it for Memorial Day, which was when the paper really started to thicken.

I was given a postcard about the Shelter Island ferry I was on, commuting for the Thursday staff meeting. It was filled with facts about the late Joe Theinert, killed in Afghanistan.

“How about a story showing how local people remember those who are gone?” I asked Editors David and Helen Rattray, owners of the paper.

And so it began. I asked about the card on the ferry ride back home and the captain started crying. He said he created it so he didn’t cry every time someone asked about the name of the boat. He knew Joey since he was a baby.

I called Jordan Haerter’s mother and father. I saw his bike plates and her posts about Jordan’s battalion with tattoos remembering him.

I spoke with Joey’s parents, took and gathered photos.

Now was the hard part. To get all of this, plus the pics of the tats, plates, and parties all in the paper.

“You have to cut 200 words” David said to me on deadline day, as the ads finalized and the newspaper got laid out.

Did he not understand how much this story meant to me? He probably didn’t because he didn’t know about my former military wife life yet. Everyone always thinks I am younger and less experienced than I am. But I knew it wasn’t a personal matter anyway. It’s business.

“I can’t” I said, never disobeyeing his requests before, sinking to the floor dramatically on my Pilates ball that I sat on at my desk.

I already spent hours cutting words and phrases, and 200 more seemed impossible to remove. It was all too important.

Maybe choosing our words carefully is something we should all learn and practice.

“Can you do it?” I asked the esteemed editor, who didn’t edit much these days, keeping busy running the business and employees, proofreading, gathering columns, section deadlines, letters to the editor, and monitoring for news.

“Fine” he said, taking the hard copy of the story from the basket it had to be in by 11 a.m. He saved me and I still liked the story afterwards.

Honoring Two Who Gave Their Lives

The Article

Thank you to all who serve and have served. Thank you to those who respect and remember them.