I recently read the letter to the editor published in The Pilot titled “We’re Changing.”
The writer, Mr. Smith, fails to understand or appreciate that most of the “military” that live here in Moore County are assigned to Fort Bragg and don’t always come here by choice.
The affluent military members he sees are mostly senior non-commissioned officers and officers; soldiers, sailors and airmen that serve in the Special Operations, Special Forces or the 82nd Airborne.
We chose to live in Moore County because, out of all the counties surrounding Fort Bragg, this county has the best lifestyle for us and our families; and we can afford to live here.
We spend “our” money to live here. We buy or rent homes — we pay property taxes too!
We and our spouses give back to this community by volunteering at a higher rate than the “locals,” in my experience.
Every military child enrolled in Moore County schools means that our schools get double the money that they do for every “local” student (In addition to our property taxes).
We spend more because we make more; we have military careers that receive special pay and bonuses. Most of us also have spouses who are working professionals too.
We choose to spend our money at the local businesses and buy nice cars from local car dealers because we save a lot of money while we are deployed. We and our spouses give of our time and volunteer at the schools, local organizations and at festivals in our community.
We do all this to insure our families grow up in the best environment while we continually deploy to certain countries to kill our enemies and/or train our allies, spending six-nine months of every year away from our families during our time assigned to Fort Bragg.
When we are home, we go to little league games, coach teams, go to high school games, are scoutmasters to “local” and military children, participate in churches, the Masonic Lodge, VFW, etc.
As for Moore County traffic, most of us drive very well and can enter a circle without stopping because we know what “Yield” means. We use our turn signals — N.C. law makes this optional despite having them inspected every year — but know and adjust to the fact that many “locals” don’t care to signal their intent while driving. We can and do pull over to assist our neighbors on the side of the road, day or night.
We are an asset to this community. We love this country and we love Moore County.
Maybe the writer should go to other places and understand that this is a good place to live and we help make Moore County even better with our “military presence.” Try to remember that the booms you hear from Fort Bragg is military training and represents the “sound of freedom.”
We really do try to avoid making “locals” feel animosity toward us. It is too bad Mr. Smith wants to live in the same place, without change, and complain about his glass being half-empty instead of doing something for this country and community.
Mark Carey is a retired Master Sergeant and co-owner of Spartan Blades in Southern Pines.