Throughout the year at the True Dakotan we aim to keep veterans and military families in the forefront of much of the storytelling we do. Whenever we see an opportunity to tell a local veteran’s story or share the rich history of the many members of the armed forces who have ties to Jerauld County, past or present, we take it.
As the editor/publisher of the True Dakotan, I am deeply passionate about giving “ink” to our armed forces – not just for the Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day issue but also in issues year round. As an individual, with personal ties to members of the military, I have seen first hand the sacrifices military families make on a daily basis. Giving gratitude and recognition to all that our armed forces do to uphold our freedom and way of life is incredibly important to me.
Since purchasing the paper from the Wenzel family (who published hundreds of stories about veterans during their 40-year True Dakotan legacy) I’ve been thrilled to carry on their tradition, covering stories about veterans who served in WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and Noble Eagle.
So when someone, clearly as passionate about veterans as I am, barged angrily into the True Dakotan office accusing the paper of “not ever doing anything for vets,” I was shaken and taken off guard.
In all fairness to this individual, I’ll provide you with some history on why he was so angry.
This individual, who will remain unnamed, had asked me to publish a poem about a veteran. I chose not to based on publishing requirements set forth by United States copyright law.
According to the United States Copyright Office, poetry is a type of literary work that is protected. Poetry may be reprinted under certain conditions, as long as copyright law is followed and the author is properly credited for his work. Poetry can be reprinted, but not in its entirety. Two lines and the title of a poem can be reprinted in another work or story with attribution to the original author. To print more, you need to get permission before copying another line.
The poem that the individual gave to me had the author listed as “unknown.” Upon further research, I discovered the title was incorrect and it was among several incorrect versions of the poem circulating on the Internet. Furthermore, the author requires permission to reprint the poem.
I am happy to accept submissions for the paper and thoroughly enjoy what members of the community bring into the office on a near daily basis. But if the submission clearly violates copyright law, I reserve the right as publisher to respectfully decline.
Although you won’t see the poem in this issue, you will find photos and stories about what veterans mean to our communities. Collectively, it is apparent that the people of our area, with sincerity and humility, appreciate the blessings we count because of our armed forces.
I hope you enjoy the coverage of Memorial Day programs across Jerauld County, Poppy Day along with an update on a deployed Wessington Springs soldier in this issue.
On Memorial Day, and everyday, I am grateful to be able to share those stories with you.