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Some thoughts on Veterans Day

November 10, 2013
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer (emccoy@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

Tomorrow will be Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada, and we do have much to remember and be thankful for.

Many military organizations will be observing this historic event.

Some day the roadside bombs and the rocket-propelled grenades will stop exploding, and our troops will come home from the Afghanistan war, but there will be injuries that will never be forgotten by the veterans or their families of this war or those already past.

Wars will end, but our disabled veterans will never have a moment of their lives untouched by the devastation of war. We can never wipe free the sights they saw or the damage to their bodies, but we can give them respect and let them know that their sacrifice was appreciated. This was written in a letter from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.

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Regarding our wounded military, the All American Salsa line of the Flagship Food Group is helping support the Wounded Warrior Project and working to raise awareness of the needs of the veterans and their families by contributing 1 percent of the purchase price on every bottle of 505 Southwestern All American Salsa to the Wounded Warrior Project through April 30.

"We want the 505 All American Salsa to be the country's patriotic salsa so if you love great salsa and want to help a worthy charity at the same time, this the only salsa product you should buy," Rob Holland, Flagship food CEO, said.

Donations raised from the campaign will help the Wounded Warriors Project, serve veterans and service members incurring a physical illness or wound that is coincidental to their military service on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

More than 50,000 servicemen and women have been injured in the recent military conflicts.

In addition to the physical pain, as many as 400,000 service members live with invisible wounds of war, including combat-related stress. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury.

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Pepperidge Farm had its Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers in a military package this summer as a salute to the branches of service. The golden-color fish were wearing hats of the Army, oldest and largest military service; Navy; Air Force; Marines; and Coast Guard.

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Here is something written about our American flag that I thought was impressive.

The author is unknown, but it was in the Cathedral Press church bulletin.

"Hello, remember me? Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your flag of the United States of America.

"Something has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you because it is about you and me.

"Some time ago, people would line up on both sides of the street to watch the parade, and I was leading everyone, proudly waving in the breeze. When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that his hand was directly over his heart. Do you remember that?

"You were standing there, straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat, but you were giving a little salute. And your little sister, not to be outdone, was saluting the same as you with her right hand over her heart.

"What happened? I am still the same old flag, although I have added a few more stars since you were a boy, and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago.

"But now, somehow, I don't feel as proud as I once felt. When I come down the street, you just stand there with your hands in your pockets. You may give me a small glance and then look away. I see children running around shouting, and they don't seem to know who I am either.

"I saw one man take off his hat, then look around and when he didn't see anybody else take off theirs, he quickly put it back on. Is it a sin to be patriotic today?

"Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I have been? Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, plus places people do not know about.

"Take a look at the memorial honor rolls and see the names of the Americans who gave their lives to keep this republic free. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.

"It won't be long until I come down the street again. So when you see me, please stand straight and place your hand over your heart. Then I will know that you remembered. I will salute you by waving back."

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The veterans of World War II are dwindling each day. These were the brave warriors, many of whom were young men just out of high school or those who quit school to fight for their county.

They and all veterans who served in a military conflict or trained to go to battle and never got orders to do so, or served their country in peace time, should be honored and recognized for the worthy service they performed.

Their humble attitude and dignity are to be commended. Let us do so tomorrow and each day we see a veteran salute a flag or proudly wear a World War II hat or from any campaign.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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