He was Bart; she was Myrtle. They were the Hancocks from Tribune, Greeley County, Kansas. It was World War II; three of their four sons were serving in the South Pacific.

Two dreaded telegrams arrived just three days apart. Two sons had been killed in combat.

Then one of those ugly, green military cars showed up. The youngest son had been located and was being sent home. It was deemed that the Hancocks had contributed more than their fair share in defense of their country.

The Hancocks had every reason to be bitter, but such was not the case. Myrtle said, “We still have family, we still have friends and we still have our church.”

But God was not through testing the Hancocks. The youngest son, sent home where he would be safe, took sick and died from “malaria of the spine,” contracted in the islands.

The Hancocks were not alone in their mourning. Greeley County never had a population of much more than 2,000 or 3,000, yet counting the Hancocks, 17 of their young men gave their lives to that awful war.

The sad part is that that war was “fought to make the world safe for democracy” and failed to do so. Soon, we were right back out there, fighting in Korea. Even now, some 60 years plus later, in far off places, our sons and daughters are still answering the call, risking their lives when necessary.

We are still producing courageous young people willing to defend their country. Defending even … those who choose to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.

I’m just glad Bart and Myrtle are not here to see it. Look up a veteran; thank them for their service. These not-to-be-forgotten heroes deserve it.

Bobby Gibson