The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

November 19, 2013

Readers' Forum 11/19 | Younger generation needs taste of military

JOHNSTOWN — My husband is a former Marine from the Vietnam War days. He participates in most veteran activities and has for almost 20 years.

On Veterans Day, he participated in the community Veterans Day ritual services at the graveyard. He is the bugler and does the taps. He also had a military funeral after that for a local veteran.

After that we had to do some shopping at a store in Ebensburg. He wore his Marine ball cap and his “proud Marine” shirt.

I wore a denim jacket that had a large round patch on the back with an eagle and military symbols on it. You couldn’t miss it. It is 12 inches in diameter. But apparently every person in the busy store did. Not a greeter, not a patron, not a manager, nor an employee nor anyone in the store gave a sign of recognition.

The store braggs about its advertisements on how much they respect our veterans and how they would hire one or all if they apply.

Have the older veterans been forgotten? Are they not as important as the recent ones?

I truly wish we could bring the draft back. Then the 18-year-olds and their families would know how it truly feels when their sons have to serve.

When my husband was putting our groceries in the back of our vehicle, he caught me crying. When he asked me what was wrong, I told him not one single person recognized you as a veteran. He said to me, “You noticed that, too.”

Sandra M. Oswalt

Portage

Act of kindness appreciated very much

On Nov. 9, some members of my family and I met at a local restaurant. The meal was exceptional, but an event that occurred after dinner will make it unforgettable.

My father is a Vietnam-era veteran and we were discussing some activities he could participate in on Veterans Day. When we asked for the check at the end of the meal, our waiter informed us that another person heard there was a veteran at our table and paid for our entire table's tab.

My family places a high regard on military service. My father, my grandfather and multiple great-uncles served. My brother is currently serving active duty and his wife is an Army veteran.

As a psychologist who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs, my work often highlights the impact that support and community culture can have on one's mental well-being post-service.

No other group of veterans found less support on the home front than those who served during the Vietnam era. My father witnessed a country, unhappily engaged in warfare, take out its discontent on those serving. He faced regular disrespect during that period and was even spit at by a U.S. civilian on one occasion.

It was striking to see my father speechless from the act of kindness that occurred that day.

Thank you to the person who showed respect to a veteran who experienced blatant disrespect decades ago.

I’m grateful that the culture around those who serve has shifted in a more positive direction.

Catherine Golden

Cleveland, Ohio, formerly of Portage

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