Valdosta Daily Times

October 23, 2013

A salute to military service, community service

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Each month, throughout 2013, The Times has focused on a different subject through our All About You features. One month focused on the arts, another on the medical community, etc.

This month's focus has been the military.

Given our region's long history with Moody Air Force Base, selecting the military for an All About You theme is a natural choice, but we've done something a little unexpected in our feature choices.

One article spotlighted the story of a former Air Force pilot who chose to not only stay in Valdosta after military retirement but to make a difference in the community.

Another one of the stories featured the memories of a Valdosta resident recalling his Army days in World War II and the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau. Now he shares his experiences of World War II and the Holocaust with community schools and organizations.

Another military All About You focused on a Vietnam prisoner of war. He does not live in Valdosta but he recently visited our community to share his experiences and remind audiences of the importance of keeping the spirit of liberty alive.

This week, we remember Earl Blocker, a World War II veteran, a survivor of D-Day and Okinawa, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 88. Throughout his life, he advocated the remembering of D-Day and paying respect to the heroic and horrific sacrifices made that day by young American soldiers to liberate Europe.

While our military theme has taken a somewhat unexpected turn in sharing stories from the past, readers will notice they are also stories of the here and now. For each one tells the story of military service in the past but continued dedication to the community in the present.