To all of our local heroes in Tyler, Longview, Jackson, Lindale, Kilgore, Hallsville, and all over East Texas--thank you for your service. Not just today. But every day.

Every time I look at these photos of my grandfather Roy, I stop and ponder. I look at him at such a young age and try to imagine him on the days these photos were taken. My grandmother, too. Marjorie.

In the not-so-distant past, on a day in 1945, my grandparents had just walked through an incredibly difficult season of conflict and had successfully defended freedom in the face of formidable enemies.

Tara Holley's grandparents after the end of World War 2
Tara Holley's grandparents after the end of World War 2

And now, here they were. Back home. Standing on front porches, embracing one another. Walking down American city streets. Perhaps they were doing a little shopping and talking about their plans for the future.

These are some of the sweet everyday moments they probably looked forward to experiencing again the most after the war ended.

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I'm always amazed and filled with respect. Thank you. To him. To them.

And to every single American who has put on a uniform or supported those who did. Thank you for standing up to defend the sweet everyday moments it is so very easy to take for granted.

I've never worn a uniform. I've never been asked to stand on the front lines, or even nearby when battles were fought to defend this land and the ideals we cherish. Even on my worst day, I've never looked an aggressor in the eye and known, at this moment, I would have to stand my ground or fall.

I can rest more peacefully knowing we are defended by strong, brave souls who volunteer or share their strength so that I may do so.

And thank you to the spouses and family members of those veterans who agree to bear the extra weight of keeping watch over their homes, families, and lives at home, without the support of their family members who serve.

We owe all of our East Texas Veterans a huge debt of gratitude. Not just today, but always.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Happy Veterans' Day.

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