03/18/08 — Valor recognized: Disabled American Veterans chapter needs county’s help

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Valor recognized: Disabled American Veterans chapter needs county’s help

Sometimes after a soldier has done his duty and has laid his uniform carefully away, his nation forgets.

It is not that his valor is not appreciated — or that no one remembers the battles. It is just that without that uniform, without that easily recognizable symbol, it is not as easy to say thank you.

There are thousands of veterans in Wayne County alone who are back from war with stories to tell — and wounds that are healing. And they are not all over the age of 60.

As the war in Iraq hits its fifth year, and hostilities around the world continue, there are many soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines coming home with battle scars and needs that go beyond simply a paycheck.

They have been injured protecting their nation from harm and its future from compromise — and many come home to uncertain futures and long roads to recovery.

They join a distinguished crew of men and women who have served in past wars valiantly, and who have lived for years with the consequences of those battles.

They don’t ask for help. They don’t complain. And most of them say they would have continued serving, if they had been able.

That’s how heroes are. It is never really about them, or the thanks. It is about duty and honor.

And now, even though most of them will not be wearing uniforms anymore and will not be easily recognizable as heroes, this community has an opportunity to say thank you.

The local Disabled American Veterans chapter is in need of a new headquarters with more room to accommodate some of its newest members just home from the battles in the Middle East.

More space will allow volunteers the chance to tend to the emotional and physical scars that many of these servicemen and women bring home — and to let the heroes past and present know that their community has not forgotten.

The DAV has set up a building fund and is hoping to use the money to expand its facilities and to reach out to some of the newest disabled veterans who have come home or will come home in the near future.

It is our duty to help make that dream a reality.

It won’t take much, maybe a few people who have a little bit of cash to spare — and hearts big enough to care for heroes they might never meet.

In so patriotic and giving a town, that should be an easy assignment.

Published in Editorials on March 18, 2008 1:03 PM