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Veterans Day

Putting names and faces to the concept we honor
     The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 101 years ago ended the War to End All Wars — which ironically became known as World War I. Over the century, Armistice Day evolved into Veterans Day, a day to honor all who have served, the survivors as well as the dead and the wounded.
     That’s a lot of people.
     Leading those armies to whom we give thanks are individuals special to each of us, people with names and faces. Many of us trace them back all the way to the American Revolution.
     Most of my veterans are friends and acquaintances who survived their war.
     The Illinois farm boy who chronicled his WWI service as a mule master in Fort Taylor, Kentucky, in long-lost letters to my cousin.
     My father (dead 26 years today), whose service as a shore patrolman in Key West in World War II seems to have been serving as a poster boy for what sailors on leave should not do.
     The Bay Weekly writers and husbands of writers who served as airmen in that war, surviving adventures that are the stuff of novels, flying planes as likely as the enemy to kill them. Our revered Bill Burton’s boyhood chum Henry ­Beckwith, who did not survive the war in the sky. Now his name must be recalled every year to keep Burton’s promise. Others, who served on the ground or, like Burton himself, in the water and survived circumstances they would not tell.
     Korean Conflict veterans not so much older than I … Friends who served in the Cold War in smart jobs or who went to Vietnam to do hard, killing jobs — many returning with the legacy of Agent Orange, among them Robert Burnett and John Hiser.
     Men and women younger than I entangled in the new wars of the 21st century — so many that it makes you think wars will never end. 
     All of them have our thanks and our memories this Veterans Day.
     Standing in for all of them in Bay Weekly’s pages, you’ll meet 99-year-old Capt. Emil Saroch Jr., of Severna Park, and learn about his 30-year career in the U.S. Navy, in a story told by his son-in-law, Richard Dykeman.
 
You’ve Asked If You Can Help
Here’s how
     Yes, Bay Weekly — at least as we’ve known it — has its final deadline the last week of December, 2019. 
     That gives us seven more weeks to make the best papers we can. 
     To do that, we need your help. Jump into those papers with us! Now’s the time. And, as those dates tell us, it’s closing fast.
    Advertisers have supported 1,351 of our 1,352 issues of Bay Weekly. We paid for the first one ourselves — and supplemented the cost of many more of those issues when advertising revenues didn’t stretch far enough.
     That’s it. Subscription revenues barely cover their first-class mailing cost — and even so USPS take their time delivering to subscribers’ mailboxes. That’s why we won’t sell you a subscription unless you beg.
     But we’ll gladly sell you an ad. Buy an ad — better still, buy seven — and you’ll help our world go round. You’ll also broadcast your message to 60,000 Bay Weekly readers.
     If you’ve been in our pages, you know it works. People notice. They tell you so, and you likely tell me. 
     Now’s the best time in the 26 going on 27 years of Bay Weekly’s history to advertise what you have to sell. Prices are at the lowest, opportunity is going fast and — perhaps best of all — readers are savoring everything in our last issues (and making purchase decisions they’ve been postponing), knowing these upcoming seven are their last chances.
     Now’s just as good a time to send your message in Bay Weekly. You’ll never have a better chance to reach a bigger audience with what you have to say. Send your mother a big hug. Thank your best friend for all she’s done for you. Broadcast your love for your sweetie. Ask for help for your special project or cause.
      Or say thanks to Bay Weekly. Use our pages to tell all 60,000 readers how much Bay Weekly has meant to you. You’ll not only have your say; you’ll also be a published writer. Plus, I’m collecting stories of how Bay Weekly has become part of readers’ lives.
     What am I going to do with your stories of close encounters with Bay Weekly? I have a plan. But what it is is a big secret I’m still keeping. 
     So, dear reader, this week’s answer to how you can help is simple: Invest in the paper you say you love. Contact Audrey ([email protected]) or Susan ([email protected]) or call 410-626-9888 to buy your ad — better still, seven of them.
     Meanwhile, remember to visit our advertisers and distributors and thank them for bringing you Bay Weekly all these years.
 
Bay Weekly’s Wheel of Memory
     This week my wheel of memory stops on a veteran, U.S. Naval Academy grad Nancy Hoffmann, whose early 21st century years as a contributor to Bay Weekly showed the translating power of a veteran’s drive, devotion and determination. Nancy’s an achiever: a basketball player at the Academy, she was also a lawyer by the time she came to us because she wanted to write about horses, under whose spell she’d fallen.
     Sure, we said, and while you’re at it, we’ve got these other stories as well. One unforgettable story chronicled her husband, Phil Hoffmann, who did for work the job many Marylanders would do for fun: photographing the Baltimore Ravens and the U.S. Naval Academy teams at play: https://tinyurl.com/Hoffmann-photo.
     After Bay Weekly, Nancy earned a creative writing master’s at Johns Hopkins and turned to longer-form stories. Good for her. Bad for us.