Three veterans you’re lucky to meet

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In honor of Veterans Day, we’d like to salute three in particular.

The first two are synonymous with service. Agree with him or disagree, the third embodies the courage that made America great and lives today as someone we believe the Founding Fathers would salute, too.

A front-page article tomorrow will introduce you to Don Walker and Bryan Bledsoe, the brains and brawn behind the monthly Veterans’ Press. The pages of Veterans’ Press are researched, assembled, written, edited and/or approved by Don and Bryan. The Veterans’ Press for November will be published on the 18th.

Understand this right up front: These men receive no remuneration for their efforts except the gratitude of fellow veterans and the satisfaction in knowing that their hard work is making a difference for the men and women who have risked all for their country, in some cases to be shunned and all but forgotten. Bryan and Don haven’t forgotten. This newspaper appreciates the incredible efforts this dynamic duo goes through every month to provide help for North Idaho veterans.

You’ll learn more about the men and their monthly efforts tomorrow, but today on this page you’ll meet another veteran worth listening to. His name is Stephan Speer. Judging by the preponderance of political sentiments expressed on these Opinions pages, Speer’s message will be met with anger, derision and condemnation. But he’s earned the right to write.

Stephan Speer is a combat veteran who saw action in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. He came home, graduated from University of Idaho, got married and pursued a career in industrial microbiology.

Speer has been married for 46 years. He and his wife have two daughters, one a dentist and the other a surgeon. When it comes to active, productive citizenship, not many families can beat the Speer clan.

“I was raised in a military family where DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY were the ideals that gave focus to our lives,” Speer wrote to the editor. “My wife and I instilled these same ideals as guiding virtues for our daughters.”

The rest of Speer’s message is spelled out pretty clearly in his letter. That doesn’t mean it will go down easily with some readers’ Corn Flakes and coffee. Some will pick up pens and fire point blank at a man they mistakenly view as an enemy.

They would be wise to remember it’s only because of veterans like Stephan Speer that they still have that right.

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