With more than 165,000 veterans across West Virginia, there is one thing each one of those thousands of people have in common — a commitment to service and the common good. Either here or abroad, those men and women put the well-being of their fellow man ahead of their own.
Retired Marine Master Sergeant Dayton Meadows spearheads the Freedom Flag campaign, whose astronomically-sized star-spangled banner waves to turnpike travelers every day. But the movement doesn’t stop with Old Glory.
“God, country, patriots, military, and family,” Marine MSgt. Dayton Meadows III (Ret.), Freedom Flag. “That’s what this country was founded on over 200 years ago, and we need to bring that back.”
Meadows believes those facets directly apply to West Virginians, since their allegiance is unique in itself.
The numbers reflect that loyalty, especially for those who served. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, West Virginia ranks 14th in the nation in percent veterans by state — at around 11%, higher than the national average.
“We’re the only state in United States that’s entirely in the Appalachians. Appalachian people, if you study a little bit, will show that they’re very clannish and very loyal to their group, to our people,” said Meadows.
A patriotic love for country, state, and each other.
“Everybody’s American,” said Meadows. “You’re not black. You’re not white. You’re not Hispanic. You’re American. That’s first. It’s in the heart. If you’re loyal to your family, which is our country, we need to do it together. We’re going to have differences on how it should be done, but we can work it out.”
You can catch our Veterans Voices Special next week. That hour long special will showcase veterans from the Ohio Valley and beyond.
It will air this Saturday November 3 at noon on WTRF CBS. It will air once again on Sunday November 11 at 5 p.m. on WTRF ABC Ohio Valley.