Editorial: Salute servicemen and women
It’s too easy for distant wars to be forgotten by those of us here in America, with little exposure to the intense struggle our servicemen and women face every day in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Television and news reports of the chaos oversees can blur together without giving any real sense of what our troops are going through. New media forms offer some fresh perspective, like Twitter reports from war zones.
Taking Twitter followers inside a fire fight on a mountain somewhere in Afghanistan late last week when 60 troops from the 101st Airborne suddenly found themselves surrounded by Taliban fighters in the middle of the night, a CNN correspondent wrote: “With Taliban rockets, mortars and grenades slamming into the base, the men used every weapon they had. At the same time, six of the soldiers were at a lone observation post on top of a steep mountain just outside the gate. Thirty more Taliban crept up the mountain and overran them. The soldiers survived by shooting, running and tumbling down the mountain as they ran out of ammo. The deeply shaken soldiers give their first-hand account of this extraordinary tale of war and survival...”
Since Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan began in late 2001, 1,375 U.S. military men and women have made the supreme sacrifice — 428 so far this year. In Iraq, 57 U.S. casualties were recorded so far this year, bringing total U.S. troop deaths to 4,427 since the start of the war in 2003.
As Veterans Day is commemorated, let’s hope our service men and women, past and present, get the attention they deserve.
More citizens, especially those who don’t have a father, son or mother or daughter stationed or fighting overseas, need to get engaged and find a way they can be of help and lend real support.
In Darien today residents will gather at the Memorial Circle outside Town Hall to honor the Darien men and women who have served our country. For the first time, Darien TV79 will simulcast the ceremony on cable in our homes and in the Darien Schools’ classrooms.
And the Darien Police and VFW are working together to raise money to revitalize the Spring Grove Veterans Cemetery’s flag monument. It was sculpted before World War II by Darienite Karl Lang. Already this month, volunteers have improved the landscaping around it.
Statewide, there has been a two-year movement to build the Connecticut State Veterans Memorial in Rocky Hill across from the State Veterans Home. By mid-October, between $500,000 and $600,000 in contributions were still needed for the $1.2-million project to pay tribute to the patriots of the past and honor the veterans of today. Contributions may be sent to Connecticut State Veterans Memorial Inc. in care of Rockville Bank, P.O. Box 660, Vernon, CT, 06066 or they may be made online at the state’s Web site, ct.gov.
To close the gap, many state banks and credit unions are accepting $1 donor cards from individuals who want the name of a veteran or current service member inscribed in the “Honor Roll of Heroes” kiosk planned for the site. For details, go to cthonorsvets.org. The state armories in Hartford, Enfield, New London, Stratford and Waterbury will be open from 9 to noon on Saturday, Nov. 13, for people to drop off their $1 donations.
Show your appreciation for the service many have given to their country for generations to come.