Kids learned about real-life heroes at the Home Front Café

Serious  talk: Quinn McCutcheon, right, listens to Walter Gould, a Vietnam veteran, at the Home Front Café.

To the Editor:

Last Tuesday, a wonderful and unusual gathering was held at the Home Front Café. In celebration of the Altamont Free Library’s Summer Reading Program theme, Every Hero Has A Story, we brought together some of our local young folks to meet and learn from some of our local heroes, our military veterans.

Represented at the Home Front were 16 former members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines who served in nearly every major recent United States conflict, including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  The 16 veterans represented a span of nearly 75 years of military service and sacrifice.

Over the course of the summer, we’ve talked and read and learned a lot about heroes. Often, when we think about heroism, we think about superpowers like invisibility, flight, and extraordinary strength.

If there’s one thing that we hope that children took away from this summer’s reading program, though, it’s that there are other types of heroes who are not represented in action movies and comic books, but rather live among us, and we see them every day, though we may not know that they are heroes. 


Hometown heroes: Veterans gathered at Cindy Pollard’s Home Front Café in Altamont to tell their stories to children who were part of the summer reading program at the Altamont Free Library. — Photo by Joe Burke


The veterans who joined us last Tuesday served in different ways, in different places and in different eras, but they all had something in common. They all risked their lives to serve something bigger than themselves.

They heeded their nation’s call when they were needed and we all benefit from their sacrifices. They are all heroes. Every one of them.

To every one of the veterans who attended: Thank you for joining us and thank you for your service.

We hope that the 14 young people who joined us will carry with them the stories they heard last Tuesday. We hope that, as they go through their lives, when they think of heroism, instead of thinking about Batman or Wonder Woman, they think of some of the military veterans they met. We believe that they will.

Cindy Pollard, owner

Home Front Café

Joe Burke, director

Altamont Free Library

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