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World War II veteran Elmo Lincoln Martin of Bowling Green receives a proclamation declaring October 10 to be Elmo Lincoln Martin Day, as well as letters written by U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, from Bowling Green City Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash at Martin's 100th birthday party on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, at the Historic Beechmont Farm. (Grace Ramey/photo@bgdailynews.com)

This year, we’ve witnessed an impeachment trial of the president, watched wildfires rage across the world from Australia to the American West, seen civil unrest rock cities after the killing of George Floyd and endured a pandemic that has killed more than 215,000 Americans.

We are now barreling toward a presidential election that could very well be contested and likely won’t be decided when we wake up Nov. 4.

These are, without a doubt, tumultuous times.

In times like this, we should look to the torchbearers who’ve come before us – those like Sgt. Elmo Lincoln Martin, a World War II veteran who recently celebrated his 100th birthday and a remarkable life.

Martin, a Bowling Green native of the Greatest Generation, was drafted into the Army in his early 20s and fought in the decisive Battle of the Bulge, which went down as the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II.

Back home in the states, Martin raised four children with his now-deceased wife, Ruth, and worked for most of his life, not retiring until age 88.

Through it all, he’s been carried forward by an indefatigable sense of optimism and gratitude.

Despite his humble beginnings growing up on his family’s farm in Butler County during the Great Depression and enduring a world war, Martin said he’s lived a “charmed life.”

He described the secret to his longevity and success thusly: “The secret to that is don’t give up, keep doing something. Don’t get cantankerous because you’re old, or mad because you’re not going to live too long. I don’t even think about that. It doesn’t worry me a bit,” he said.

In times like these, we see Martin as an example. We can all be buoyed by his spirit – to practice staying grounded in gratitude as we head toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

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