Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 26, 2014

Memorial Day: Be inspired by those who served

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Memorial Day is time we set aside to reflect on the ultimate sacrifices made by our military. But what do we do with it? If no action is taken from the inspiration of the lives that are lost so we can sleep in peace at night — then who are we as a nation?

One of my favorite Reagan quotes is, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” We have a crisis in America today and it’s called apathy. Oh we care ... but how much?

I’m partial to issues dealing with the military. I’m from a military family and did my time in a uniform as well. My father was a ball turret gunner on a B-24 in the Pacific and was there on the beach when MacArthur returned. Like most veterans of that era, Dad didn’t want anybody’s help for anything. They all just wanted to be left alone to enjoy the fruits of their labor. VA hospitals were for the heroes who got old and needed help ... but not those guys.

I cried the last time I visited a VA hospital. Guys with black baseball hats that proudly proclaimed what war they fought in were all over the place. ALL over the place. It seemed to me that the older they were, the more patient they were ... and thankful too. I was there to visit a Vietnam war veteran I barely knew but he had no family to visit him. He checked in knowing full well that what ailed him was going to win and he wasn’t going to leave. So is he one of those we are supposed to remember on Memorial Day too? I will.

Well, once again the VA hospital bureaucracy, not the caregivers, is in the spotlight with problems I don’t even want to talk about except to say this: This is still America, the greatest nation on earth bar none. We take care of our own.  We sacrifice for each other and are still “One nation under God.”

This Memorial Day, spend the time to reflect why you are thankful for living here and get inspired to do something in light of those responsible for your freedoms. Whether they died on the battlefield or from a neglectful government agency — they deserve your action.

— Paul Dorsey

SFC, USA (Ret.)

Green Valley