Military Life Is A Tradition For Local Family - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/21/03

Military Life Is A Tradition For Local Family

"Red, white and blue being the American flag. But the white stars stand for each person that we have currently active duty," said Valerie Owenby.

Owenby is describing the image that greets you as you enter the Owenby residence.

She wanted to create a personal tribute to our nation's troops - during this time of uncertainty.

"I've just heard so much negative that's gone on about the war and regardless of how I feel or anybody else feels about it, we need to support our troops," said Owenby.

But there is more to this story. This personal tribute is more than just personal to her - it's her family.

"My mother and my dad met at Keesler. They were both in the military. And my husband's brother was in Vietnam...he served. My brother was in the navy, my nephew and my son and my daughter-in-law are all military, so it's a generational thing," said Owenby.

"They've been very brave to take on a duty such as that. It can be very hard, stressful on the family. Many number of things that can be uncomfortable about it but I think they've taken on a great honor to do something such as that..as to join the military, put their life on the line . You know, I think they've done a great job," said Owenby's son Daniel Mitchell.

Daniel is actually thinking of joining the military himself, not only to serve his country, but to help provide a good life for the other Daniel in his life - his two year-old son.

Owenby says her brother-in-law didn't have any support when died in Vietnam in May of '67. She says its a shame, and the attitude should change.

"Please support our troops no matter how you feel about this war. No matter how you feel about President Bush, please support the young men and women who are there fighting so that you have the right to voice those opinions. So you have a right to talk bad about our president," said Owenby.

Owenby says her daughter-in-law, who is a Navy reservist, said people used to support our troops during World War two by making personal items such as a personalized family flag.

She hopes the idea is rekindled throughout the community as well as the nation.

By Karla Redditte

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