In honor of Veterans Day, The Mountaineer is devoting a large portion of this issue to stories and issues about our local veterans.

This newspaper has a long history of helping readers understand the lives, times and challenges each generation of veterans faced as they served our country. About 20 years ago, we embarked on the mission to tell the story of every single WWII veteran we could find and who was willing to speak about his or her experience at war. There were so many stories it took us about two years, with a new story running each Monday. We later combined those stories into two separate sections that are likely in cedar chests across the county to remind families of what their grandfather or grandmother went through.

The next effort was to capture the stories of Korean War veterans, something that also resulted in weekly stories and a special section. We moved on to Vietnam War veterans and were able to tell a wide variety of stories about that memorable time in history.

During that period, however, we found far fewer Vietnam veterans willing to share their experiences. We’re not sure whether it was just a reluctance to dredge up the memories, a hesitancy to be featured when so many others went through similar experiences or something else. That meant those stories were combined into a special section because there were simply not enough.

We would still love to tell veteran stories from the Vietnam era, so if anyone out there has changed their mind or missed the opportunity a few years back, please give us a shout. That said, we feel it is time to move forward telling the stories of those in the nation’s most recent conflicts, Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you have served in any of these efforts, we want to tell your story. The Mountaineer is committed to not just honoring veterans on a special day set apart for the purpose, but all year long.

We hope you enjoy this issue dedicated to those who dedicated a portion of their lives to their country. To all veterans, we join others in saying a collective thank you for your service.

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