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Kindness for all genuine veterans

DUANE HARER

Rebersburg

A few weeks ago, I read a letter from Jim Hironimus about the baseball-type hats veterans wear denoting the branch of service they served in, the war they fought in or the ships that they served on.

I have seen these hats many times and the first thought that enters my mind is “How can I show this person an act of kindness to show them how much our country and I appreciate their service and sacrifice”?

It may be as simple an act as holding a door for them or at least thanking them for their service. It never occurred to me that someone would wear one of those hats and pass themselves off as a veteran.

I come from a family of veterans and grew up watching the Vietnam War on the news especially since I have an uncle who served there and was always hoping to catch a glimpse of him on the television to make sure that he was safe. As I grew up in the seventies, the Vietnam War was considered a taboo subject.

Teachers didn’t want to teach about it and I had a very hard time finding an adult who wanted to talk about it.

It wasn’t until I joined the Air Force and met veterans of the Vietnam War still serving that my eyes were opened to the truth. I spent my life trying to understand why Vietnam veterans were treated so badly when they returned home from their tour of duty. That is why I really make an effort to let them know that my generation honors and respects them just as much as we do all veterans.

Getting back to the reason for my letter, as most veterans don’t carry their DD Form 214 with them for verification. I guess that all any of us can do is to continue honoring those veterans wearing the baseball type hats with acts of kindness. Any person who passes themselves off as a veteran by purchasing and wear one of these hats will have to wrestle with their own conscience, if they have one.

As for the Veterans Monument in Miles Township, at this time I only have one issue with it.

Under the Civil War Veterans names it looks like Jackson Roush was added as an after-thought. My research shows that Jackson Roush deserted during the Civil War on Nov. 17, 1862. It is not proper to have a deserter listed on that monument with all those honorable veterans who faithfully served their tour of duty and his name should be removed.

(Duane Harer served in the U.S. Air Force, 1981-1985.)

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