07/26/09 — Our 'thank you': Operation Blue Ribbon fund is chance for us to pay it forward

View Archive

Our 'thank you': Operation Blue Ribbon fund is chance for us to pay it forward

There are no shortage of times that Wayne County residents are asked to step up and share their good fortune with those who need them -- and they respond admirably with the open hearts that make this community so special.
This is not one of those times.
Operation Blue Ribbon is much more than that.
The fundraising effort, which has been championed by many residents and businesses already, is this community's chance to say "thank you" to those who have dedicated their lives to serving their country by honoring two men who lost their futures protecting ours.
The amount of money raised is not the issue here -- although it will be used both to help the families these men left behind and to memorialize them.
This is our chance to pull together as a community to stand by what so many of us say we believe every day -- that freedom is not free and that we stand squarely behind the men and women who risk their lives to protect it every day.
The memorial service to honor Capt. Mark "Pitbull" McDowell and Capt. Thomas "Lag" Gramith will be Tuesday -- and that is the day that we are asking Wayne County residents to wear their blue ribbons in memory of these heroes whose lives were lost when they were much too young.
You can get a free ribbon at The Goldsboro News-Argus office on Berkeley Boulevard or from a News-Argus employee. Take more than one and pass them along to your family and friends.
And then make sure you wear yours Tuesday -- to let Seymour Johnson AFB personnel that you understand the sacrifices they make every day and the loss they have suffered.
But after we put away the ribbons, we will continue collecting money for the Operation Blue Ribbon fund -- our chance to honor Capt. Gramith and Capt. McDowell's memory.
Every day, we hear politicians and others talk about how they support the troops -- even as they vote to cut the money and programs that make their important work possible.
Others don't even bother to acknowledge the efforts of these brave young men and women.
This is our chance to stand tall -- and to say that what the nation's soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen do matters.
It is our chance to say thank you, while making sure that these men will not be just another set of numbers of lives lost in the desert.
And there is no monetary value on the chance to make sure that their sacrifices will be remembered.

Published in Editorials on July 26, 2009 9:41 AM