Publisher’s Note: This is a letter to the editor, submitted by a reader, and reflects the opinion of the author. The Pilot welcomes letters from readers on its Opinion page, which serves as a public forum. The Pilot is not in the business of suppressing public opinion. We are a forum for community debate, and publish almost every letter we receive. For information on how to make a submission, visit this page: https://www.thepilot.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

 

I wanted to write about what I call the military occupation of Moore County. For some, it has been a real adjustment, and even a feeling of displacement can arise, as the area has been flooded by the military relocation to Fort Bragg/Moore County.

It seems like the whole area has turned into a drinking rodeo with breweries and bars everywhere. Southern Pines has been converted to a drinking zone. Yet another brewery is going up. If that’s the best vets can come up with for a business idea post-service, well so be it. I just think it’s overkill.

Secondly, the personnel here are extremely well-compensated, and one can see this with all the expensive trucks and Harleys I encounter daily. I then get insulted by stopping by Lowe’s during the working day and seeing Lowe’s full of military, and the favoritism evidenced by special parking and being asked at checkout if you are a veteran for a discount. That helps out when you are driving a $70,000 truck.

An earlier generation of vets never lived so richly.

Also ugly: everywhere every minute is the horrible traffic congestion, so bad it’s hard to describe. Well, so much for Moore County being a peaceful retirement community.

Look, there is no doubt that these folks have sacrificed and sacrificed in little-appreciated wars.

It’s just that I’m not sure it makes sense to have such an affluent class displace everyone else. We live here too.

The “good”: Merchants and real estate agents have made a lot of money, and so have restaurants. And if you drink heavily, it’s been all good.

Oh, almost forgot: I saw my property taxes go up 40 percent. Oh well, change is always interesting.

Steve Smith, Aberdeen

(13) comments

Nanette Zeller

I read the original letter to the editor when it was published in the Pilot. It has been boiling in me since then. Mr. Smith has a very myopic view. He doesn't see that the military has brought us better schools...every active military child in our public schools brings federal dollars into the schools. The new schools being built are because of the growing need due to the influx of military families. Griping about Lowes, I guess he doesn’t see that they give discounts to all vets, including those who fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Lowes is also very supportive of hiring vets too. The young military families choosing to buy homes here instead of Fayetteville are bringing in additional property tax dollars. And the Vets/active duty are bringing in revenues from sales taxes from their purchases. If they are driving some big fancy vehicle, my thought would be that they are higher rank and have probably served a lot of time on the frontline separated from their families. I would also suspect their spouse is also employed. I guess he doesn’t see all the plethora of military spouses who are working or owning their own businesses in the area. Being strung up on the breweries (which is a nation-wide trend and opportunity for free enterprise), Mr. Smith doesn't see the other establishments created by Vets, from the lawn care services all the way through many of fitness-minded establishments that have sprouted up. He also doesn't see the high-quality medical staff (doctors, PAs, nurses, etc) who earned their training in the military and now have their 2nd career sharing their skills with our community. I've been here several decades and have seen the change, too. There is now a much larger, visible community of military who have settled here. Once it was an oddity to be a military family and we were scorned upon by many retirees. I see some things haven’t changed. I guess it’s all how you look at it. I see Moore County as a better place to live because of the military.

Patricia Punch

All I have to say Mr. Smith is that you must be very miserable in your life to spew such hatred toward our military. If you don't like what you are seeing then pack your bags and move the heck on. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. Nobody is holding a gun to your head saying that you have to stay here. It is really nice to see these military families move into the area with their youngsters. It breathes new life into our area.

Morgan Riley

I cant believe the pilot would post something like this! I half expected it to say it was a joke letter at the end! This man clearly doesn’t realize that the military has made an area that was once dying (because retirees in the north couldn’t sell their houses and move down here anymore for a while after the recession), into an fun growing family oriented community! And also..... the military should be getting paid more for all they do!

I am not military nor is my husband. We have two young kids. We moved here from the triangle area before we had kids because not only is it a beautiful place, but it has lots of young families our age raising their kids here and it is a small community that reminded me of my home in Connecticut. I for one am very happy that so many young military families are around because they have made our town an even better place to live. I cant believe someone would even have these thoughts. And If he is jealous of the military discount why doesnt he use his senior citizens discount? I dont get a discount for anything and i am glad the military does for all they do and not getting payed enough. Dont know why they give discounts to old men however...

Morgan Riley

I cant believe the pilot would post something like this! I half expected it to say it was a joke letter at the end! This man clearly doesn’t realize that the military has made an area that was once dying (because retirees in the north couldn’t sell their houses and move down here anymore for a while after the recession), into an fun growing family oriented community! And also..... the military should be getting paid more for all they do!!!!

I am not military nor is my husband. We have two young kids. We moved here from the triangle area before we had kids because not only is it a beautiful place, but it has lots of young families our age raising their kids here and it is a small community that reminded me of my home in Connecticut. I for one am very happy that so many young military families are around because they have made our town an even better place to live. I cant believe someone would even have these thoughts. And hes jealous of the military discount why doesnt he use his senior citizens discount because no young person could have written this. I dont get a discount for anything and i am glad the military does for all they do and not getting payed enough! Dont know why they give discounts to crotchety old men however!

Sally Larson

I've lived in Moore County for about 30 years and do enjoy the influx of young people and children. Sure, I've noticed there are more people in a hurry but I used to be one of them until I finally gave in to the fact people are going to drive slowly no matter how close you get to their rear fender. The area is developing a healthy multi-level mix of demographics that have never been seen here before. Living life is living with change, that's just the way it is.

Judi Rhodes

Mr. Smith just may be one of those people who will never be happy no matter where he lives. I feel sorry for him.

Ed Pieczynski

Let's see if I have this right. According to you the "occupation" of military to our area has caused an explosion of craft breweries, bars, special discounts, preferred parking, and a 40 percent increase in property taxes. To top that off you claim our military are "extremely well compensated." To say you are disturbingly misinformed would be a spectacular understatement.

I do pity and feel sorry for you. The modern world has obviously passed you by and your obvious bitterness is not productive or even healthy. Here are a few facts:

> Moore county is NOT a retirement community. It is a vibrant, thriving community of young adults, families and es even retirees.

> Our military is not "well compensated." Maybe do some homework and find out how many of our your service members and their families are on food stamps. Perhaps every time you see a $70,000 truck you blindly assume it is being driven by a service member.

> The explosion of craft breweries is nationwide in beach towns, rural America and yes even some military towns.

> Yes many merchants give discounts to military families. I guess you preferred it when they came back from Vietnam and were spit on upon their return. Do you also despise the preferred parking for moms with children at some of our grocery stores?

> To blame the property tax increase on our military residents is just too misinformed to deserve any comment.

I'm guessing you have never served and if you did it was not a good experience. That is too bad because I believe our military and their families is a tremendous asset to this and every other community.

Ed Pieczynski

Proud Retired Navy Veteran

Morgan Riley

Agreed! This man is ridiculous!

Frank Staples

Oooooorah, Ed!!!

Mark Hayes

Don't feel insulted, just take your DD-214 to a Lowes Home Improvement center, they will issue you the same discount. I have a similar reaction when I watch our subsidized population, those who have not served in our Military, at a Lowes Foods, those living off the government programs, making calls with their latest $800.00 iPhone checking the balance of their government EBT card.

Dan Roman

To paraphrase what Mr. Smith has said, and it is a sentiment heard more and more often recently: "if we had wanted to live in Fayetteville we would have moved to Fayetteville".

Despite the usual, negative comments Mr. Smiths comments are a perfectly reasonable observation and opinion.

Mark Hayes

I would have thought a old Military air ace like yourself would appreciate and welcome our Military families. Besides, you don't have to worry, they will not penetrate the perimeter of your gated community.

Ed Pieczynski

Dan....the negative comments are driven by the ignorance of Mr Smith's letter. If you think the property tax increase is due to the invasion of military or that anyone who drives a $70,000 truck is military and therefore proof that we are becoming Fayetteville then you are as misinformed as him. To say our military is "overcompensated" is not only foolish but lacking basic common sense.

Change is tough....especially when you are living in your own little world.

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