Symbolic display of gratitude
by Chip Latcham
Nov 09, 2011 | 937 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many area residents will join other patriotic Americans in observing Veterans Day on 11-11-11.

The symmetrical significance of this year’s remembrance is noted as the U.S. troops are coming home from Iraq for the holidays and the American presence is winding down in the war in Afghanistan – for many, sort of a bookend to 9-11.

Whether or not our military commanders, troops and parents approve of these decisions by President Obama and his advisers, we can all agree that it’s awesome that our servicemen and women soon will be returning home and out of harm’s way.

Many of us have shed tears when seeing or reading news accounts about families reunited with their dad or mom who had been serving for a year or longer in Iraq or Afghanistan, either in surprise ceremonies at the airport, at school or even at football games.

And speaking of emotions, we don’t know how many of our veterans and families traveled over to Refugio to view the Vietnam Healing Wall when it appeared there Nov. 3-5.

As most of our World War I and II vets are gone now, it’s only appropriate that we should extend a belated word of thanks and welcome home to those who served in Vietnam.

For many, like Ride Captain Jerry Fortenberry, it’s taken almost a half century for the wounds to heal. At age 19, he enlisted in the Army to serve his country after graduating from Refugio High School.

“It took me 40 years to finally be a little more proud of what I’ve done,” he said in a Refugio County Press story. “Sometimes I think I still have a long way to go.”

Bee County citizens, from schoolchildren to adults, will have several opportunities to express their appreciation to our veterans.

Ceremonies are scheduled Friday at FMC Elementary School, Skidmore-Tynan ISD and the major program at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the A.C. Jones High School campus.

If you are able, take a few minutes and attend one of these events. It will make you proud to be an American and eternally grateful for their service and sacrifice. – Chip Latcham
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