Today I opened the December 2016 issue of the Tornado Times. As a Vietnam Veteran, with several combat tours, I was completely taken aback and saddened by the Opinion Page comments “Heroes fall while JROTC profits.” The writer completely missed the focus of the Fallen Heroes Ceremony.
Each of the flags honored a volunteer who made the ultimate sacrifice of laying down his life to protect our republic in a very dangerous corner of the world. Each flag represented a Gold Star Family that now has an empty seat at the dinner table.
The cost of purchasing flags, cost of printing photos, costs associated with maintaining the Tomb of the Unknowns and the cost of incentives and recognition for the effort of volunteers was absorbed by the generous donation of patriots who willingly supported the effort of JROTC cadets by purchasing a flag.
When I returned from Vietnam, citizens were spitting at soldiers, we were advised not to wear uniforms in public, Hollywood’s elite were actively supporting our enemy, a future U.S. senator was throwing his service ribbons over the White House fence, and the Veterans Administration started abandoning our veterans.
We can not let this happen again. We must never forget that good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night because highly trained, brave men and women stand ready to do violence on their behalf.