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We need to remember

June 3, 2008 - Dan Voigt
Over the past weekend, I went to an auction with some friends. It's something different, to get away from the normal routine, spend time with good friends and just do something out of the ordinary. As we walked through the lines of items on the auction, I noticed that the owner of the items had been a veteran of the United States Air Force. Some of his uniforms were being offered for sale, along with memorabilia from this gentleman's years of service. I came across some Air Force manuals on aerial navigation, and in the box with the textbooks were a slide rule and his computing wheel, and some maps made out of cloth. I found these items interesting, and wondered to one of my friends if perhaps some of the things like the maps might have been interesting to a museum. Before he could answer, his wife called out to us. "Look at these," she said. In a box were several plastic boxes containing campaign ribbons, and a couple of medals, all jumbled together, along with the shoulder boards from a dress uniform. As I recall, one of the medals was for good conduct. I stared at the boxes of campaign ribbons - there were three of them, and one thought suddenly hit me. This man served our nation for many years with pride, and from all appearances, served very well. But now, that career and all that it stood for were being reduced to a box of stuff at an auction on a Sunday afternoon, that would probably be sold for a dollar or two, and most likely, end up in a dumpster. I felt ashamed - almost unworthy. "This just doesn't seem right," I said to my friends, who agreed. "If these items mean nothing to the family, why not donate them to the local American Legion of Veterans of Foreign Wars post? No matter how you look at them, they have some historical value." I put the boxes back in the big box and walked away. When I returned about a half-hour later, the items were gone. Maybe someone in his family realized their worth and retrieved them. Maybe they walked away on their own, I don't know. All I do know is that the gentleman may have never seen duty in a combat zone, but nevertheless, he served his country and flag. I hope that his family remembered that and will treasure those momentoes. I had an uncle who flew in the Army Air Corps/Air Force at the end of World War II and in Korea, and both my father and uncle were in the Army. I know lots of veterans and there isn't a day that goes by when one can't help but think of a veteran, and recall their sacrifices. With Memorial Day still fresh in our memories, we can't ever forget the sacrifices made in the past for our freedoms, and, sadly, the sacrifices that will be made in the future.


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