Most of us have no idea. We can imagine, but we still don’t know the reality of being thousands of miles from home, stuck in war, wondering if we will live to see the next day much less if we will get home.

The movies makes us think we know. John Wayne makes it look heroic and inspiring. We get a small taste of the danger, sitting on our couch, watching. However, for those who served in the cold forests in Europe, the hot jungles of the South Pacific and a place called Vietnam and deserts across the Middle East, it was real, too real.

Monday is Memorial Day, a day we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

This day, much like Veterans Day, makes me think of Mark Scott Skelton and Charles Bradford, two of Jackson County and Scottsboro’s finest men ever. More than 10 years ago, I sat at a kitchen table with both of them as we worked on a feature story.

It was a day I include in one of my favorite days in this business. Skelton and Bradford, both now since departed, were true All-Americans, defending their country through two wars, World War II and the Korean War.

And both, much like most soldiers, scoffed at the mention of All-American or heroes. They would say, often, they just did their jobs, jobs they were told to do.

You can see the names of those from Jackson County who gave their all for their country at the Veterans Memorial Park, a beautiful place.

This virus has shaken us up. Everything has changed. It’s changed because of the men and women, through many years, who fought and died, for this country.

On Monday, and every day, remember those who gave their all.

DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of the Sentinel. He can be reached by email to 

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