Many reasons to respect veterans

Published 5:55 pm Saturday, May 27, 2017

How many reasons are necessary to pay respects for our war deaths on Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is our most reverent attempt at remembrance and gratitude for the selfless acts of courage and sacrifice made by those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and independence.

There are nearly a million heroes who have made that sacrifice and deserving of our admiration and respect. “Lest we forget” the price paid for freedom.
America’s war deaths total 959,831 (battle deaths and In theater).

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War death data is taken from “America’s Wars Fact Sheet” published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs dated May 2017 and covers the period from 1775-1991.

Viewing this fact sheet of war deaths is a stark reminder of the price of freedom. These were individuals much like any of us with hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Theirs were not to be due to an enemy bullet or dozens of other life-ending projectiles or explosions. A life ended much too soon, but for a noble cause, the cause of freedom.

Selma is blessed with good civic organizations performing good works in the community.

The Selma Rotary Club is one of these noted for its generosity and thoughtfulness. They truly live up to their mottoes of “Service Above Self” and “He profits most who serves best.”

The Selma Rotary Club sponsored “The Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” a half size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., in April 2005.

It was on display at the old National Guard Armory from Tuesday, April 5 until Sunday, April 10. It was experienced by many people who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to see it. No matter how many times you view “The Moving Wall” or the “Vietnam Veterans Memorial” in Washington, D.C., it is a moving experience.

The American Legion Post 20 was asked to man the display on Wednesday, April 6, which we were honored to do. Rotarians Ramsey Knight and Kathi Needham were of much assistance to our efforts that day. Although a violent thunderstorm collapsed our hospitality tent that evening just before closing, it failed to dampen the spirits of our rain drenched troops. Rotarians Kathi and George Needham came to our rescue offering moral support and deciding to erect the tent again in daylight. The good works of the Rotary Club on behalf of past, present and future generations of veterans have always been inspirational and appreciated.

There are now 58,307 names, as of Memorial Day 2015, etched in the black granite wall including eight women.

The Vietnam War became a very divisive and to some an unpopular war.

However, the men and women who fought and died there are special and as much deserving of our respect, admiration and remembrance as any other in our history.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who place themselves at the tip of the spear in service to our country. It is our responsibility to keep the candle of freedom burning as a tribute to those who gave their life for it.

See you at Memorial Stadium Monday, May 29.