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Saturday, November 11, 2006

God Bless Our Servicemen and Women: Past and Present

Dust Off Medals for Veterans Day Stars and Stripes By Leo Shane III October 21, 2006 WASHINGTON — There’s a new dress code for Veteran's Day this year. Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs are encouraging all former servicemembers to dust off their medals and wear them next month as a show of pride and patriotism. “You don’t have to put them on only if you’re in a parade,” said VA Secretary Jim Nicholson. “Wear them when you go play golf. Wear them when you go to the store. Let America know that you took that oath and served.” The idea is based on celebrations in countries such as Australia, where veterans and their family members routinely display their medals on national holidays. Veterans organizations embraced Wednesday’s announcement. “I think it’s a great way to increase patriotism,” said Terry Shima, executive director of the Japanese American Veterans Association. “More people will recognize our veterans, and more people will think about our current armed forces.” Herb Rosenbleeth, director of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, said two of his World War II veteran relatives recently pulled out their old military decorations and have begun sharing stories with the family. “They did other things; they worked for 40 years and had good lives, but that’s their biggest source of pride right now,” he said. “They want to be able to talk about them.” Nicholson said the initiative is completely voluntary, and he reminded all veterans to check their service history if they have questions about what honors they did or didn’t earn. But he said he hopes that this will become a tradition for all national holidays, and said he thinks it will benefit the current services as much as the retired troops. “I think this will start dialogues, inspire neighbors to talk to veterans who live next door about their sacrifice,” he said. “I hope it will help with recruiting, because our veterans are the face of America.” Wednesday’s announcement also featured several soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who said they liked the idea of carrying that military tradition well beyond their years in the service. “It’s just a great chance to show that it is something to be proud of,” said Capt. Robert Klinger, injured in Iraq earlier this year while serving with the 1st Armored Division. Weiichi Kuwayama, a veteran who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II, had to search a bit to find his Purple Heart and Silver Star to wear to Wednesday’s announcement. “Once you get them, you never wear them,” he said of the medals. “You don’t want to parade around and show off. But now I have a reason to put them on.”

4 comments:

lynn said...

Good post. like your photos too. A touching way with words you have on this day.

lynn said...

Touching that was, on this moving day. I've put a photo up too to commemorate it.

Susie Q said...

Thank you dear Lynn. Your words mean a lot.
Comments like these mean so much to me.

Billy said...

Of course, I don't want to look like those old Soviet guys during the May Day celebrations with medals clustered and weighing down their cheap suits...OK, maybe I'll wear my full rack the next time we take Gracie to Chuckie Cheese...might snag us a few extra tokens!