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Dear Reader

by Vaun Thygerson
Staff writer and mother of three

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.  And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.  And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.  ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA,” by Lee Greenwood.

When I was a teenager, I had the privilege of watching Lee Greenwood perform this song live at a concert in Gillette, Wyoming.  And, even as a young girl, I understood the meaning of the profound words rooted in the chorus.  To this day, whenever I hear these lyrics, I remember his concert and the emotions I felt that day – patriotism and thankfulness!

I grew up in a military family where we were taught to appreciate our freedom and never take it for granted.  Although my father retired from the Air Force before I was born, we still shopped at the PX on base, used military doctors, flew on cargo airplanes, and ate at the non-commissioned officers club.  I never lived on a military base in exotic countries like my five older sisters, but I think I can still affectionately refer to myself as an “Air Force Brat.”  I wear this moniker with pride!  

This month is full of gratitude, not only for the observance of Thanksgiving, but also in recognition of Veteran’s Day on November 11.  KCFM spent the day with some of the bravest men and women in Kern County at the 14th Annual Veteran’s Stand Down at Stramler Park.  Detailed in the article, “Veterans’ Stand Down for Local Heroes,” you can read more about these heroes and find out what kinds of services are available for them.  We also interviewed local veterans to find out what they are thankful for this holiday season. Check out their responses on page 13 and 14.

With the Thanksgiving season comes the welcomed drop in temperature to a cooler climate. Fall changes the landscape of Kern County in more ways than just its foliage. The weather makes it easier to participate in outdoor activities like jogging.  Tracie Grimes writes about this in her Humor at Home article, “Jogging Kills Brain Cells,” on page 18. Even though her mother ran marathons, Tracie says she hasn’t been bitten by the proverbial jogging bug.  In fact, the opposite is true – she doesn’t like to run at all. So, she’s on the hunt to find her “thang” that will help her stay in shape.

Tracie Grimes also gives her monthly book reviews in her article, “Read, Read, Read!  The Case for Turning Your Kids into Bookworms,” on page 19.  She writes about the importance of keeping your children interested in books.  Even though your children may be sick of you telling them to read, you have to keep up the mantra.  Reading is so vital to their success.  Some of her recommended reads this month include “Charley’s First Night” by Amy Hest and “Heroes of Olympus:  The Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan.  For moms, she says “Ocean Beach” by Wendy Wax delivers unlikely friendships and unbreakable bonds that will surely fascinate its reader.

Thanksgiving gives us a chance to hit the pause button on our crazy schedules and take the time to really appreciate the bounty of our lives.  We live in a free country with men and women who have fought to defend it.  I am proud to be an American, and I am thankful for every blessing in my life!  We are also grateful for you, our readers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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