Colorado Springs ranks high or highest on impressive best-of lists that use economic and cultural data to determine the finest places to live. Just last week the Springs ranked as the hottest housing market in the nation, with demand for homes outpacing supply.
Yet, the absolute best aspect of Colorado Springs is the demographic comprised of more than 80,000 veterans. No asset can surpass what they do to improve the quality of life that makes this region attractive.
An unusually dense veteran community gives this metro area collectively high quality of character. Veterans are all men and women who put their country ahead of themselves. In doing so, many lost or risked their lives. Those who survive have skill sets one can not obtain by reading books or paying tuition at a college. They are the first to volunteer to help the hungry, the young and the disabled.
There is no substitute for obtaining the level of personal wisdom, intellect and personal strength forged through military service.
To recognize Veterans Day 2019, The Gazette presents a podcast series called "The Last of the Greatest." For the next few months, listeners will hear the great stories of "pilots, medics, Marines, family members and how the war shaped their lives." To listen to the podcasts visit this editorial on gazette.com and click the "podcast" link.
Sunday's gazette.com and print edition contain written stories of five veterans who survived World War II. Each provides a dramatic, modest sample of what Americans go through when they accept the challenge of risking their lives so fellow Americans can enjoy lives of prosperity and peace.
Monument's 101-year-old Earl Depner, known around town for his amazing physical health, lucidity, and generosity recounts his P-51 Mustang fighter taking rounds over Germany. He escaped the crashing plane, only to whack his head on the aircraft's tail has he deployed a parachute. He drifted to earth unconscious. His chute snagged a tree, leaving Deptner to dangle three feet from the ground. Depner miraculously survived and went on to serve 24 years in uniform including combat in Korea.
This and other stories give readers and listeners only a hint of what our veterans go through keeping this country sovereign and safe. Thank them today and every day. Make their lives special. We owe everything we have to their selfless decisions to serve by giving their lives or risking death and disability for the sake of everyone else.