Air Force veteran Tom Jeffers, who also has served on the Butler County Veterans Service Commission’s Board of Commissioners more than two years, will be parade marshal on Monday for Hamilton’s Memorial Day Parade.
“I think that’s great, being able to do something for our Memorial Day, which is very special to our veterans,” said Jeffers, who served in the Air Force from 1969-1972, during the Vietnam era. He also will become vice commander in June for American Legion Post 138, and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS.
At a time when the country’s military actively fighting terrorists around the globe, and soldiers are being killed, “I’m not sure we’re considering ourselves at war,” he said. “I think a lot of people are not thinking of it as a war. It’s definitely a different type of a war that we’re into.”
“Vietnam was different, too, because we never really dedicated ourselves to — I guess we didn’t really know what we were fighting, whether we wanted to win, or whether we didn’t,” he said.
While the fighting in Vietnam became unpopular, with protesters spitting on soldiers as they returned home, the current conflict has gone on so long in so many places that the public has tended to lose attention on the conflicts and the family tragedies of American loss of life, he said.
“I think in today’s time, we know we want to win, but we’re fighting a different type of a war, with the way the fighting is being done,” he said. “We need to stick together as a country, and not worry about the politics.”
“I think it’s a very tough time to be serving on active duty,” Jeffers said.
Parade Chairman Michael Cupp praised Jeffers as someone who’s “not afraid to get his hands dirty — he’ll pitch in whether he’s conducting a meeting or taking out the garbage.”
“To me, he epitomizes what an American veteran should be,” Cupp added. “Not only did he serve his country, but now that he’s out of the military, he’s serving his community.”
The parade starts at 10 a.m. Monday. Jeffers and Cupp hope parade participants will show up afterward for the Memorial Day Program that will follow the parade at about 11:15 a.m. in Greenwood Cemetery.
“We have a Field of Honor, which is at Greenwood, and it’s where we have Butler County veterans from World War I and World War II, who died in the wars. We will be doing a short cemetery afterward. It would be nice if people would give another 15-20 minutes of their day, maybe go down there with us. It’s right there. You don’t even have to get in your car. I hope all the families show up.”