If you were part of this day, you should be proud of what you accomplished. We are fortunate to have such caring people in our community, and we welcome others to join us next year for another successful event.
Arnold A. Callaham
United Way of Washington County Board President
An insult to all who earned a Purple Heart
To the editor:
Purple-Heart Band Aids! How insensitive can people be! I am sure the Republicans at their convention were just making fun of one of John Kerry's Purple Hearts. But by making fun of his Purple Heart, they are making fun of all Purple Hearts.
In the summer of 1950, I was camping with three friends. They were members of the Air Force, Army and Marine Reserves. When I returned from trip to buy extra food I told my friends that there was a news report: The North Koreans had crossed the 38th parallel and that all reserve units were to report for active duty. I went back to high school and my three friends went to war.
Before Christmas of that year, one soldier had received his Purple Heart. It was a superficial wound, but Lowell was never the same after the war. Earl, the Marine, was wounded three times. He received three Purple Hearts, one at the Yalu River and another at the Chosin Reservoir.
I have had the belief until recently that each person owed a certain amount of their time to this country. If necessary, we should put our lives on the line just to be a citizen of such a great country. I also believed that if a person suffered as a result of performing that duty to America, America was in debt to him/her. I still believe this last statement.
When I was in the Army, my first sergeant wore a Purple Heart. He told me that when he was young, he lied about his age and entered the Army. That was just before World War II. His first assignment was Corregidor, the Philippines. When the Japanese attacked in December 1941, he was wounded by a small-caliber bullet.
The wound was no bigger than a dime, easily covered by a Band Aid. It became infected, and there was no penicillin back then. He was flown out before the fall of Corregidor. It was a small wound but 1st Sgt. Graham was very proud of his Purple Heart.
I taught a boy in high school who went to Vietnam. He had a safe desk job, but volunteered to serve with his buddies in combat. His body was nearly destroyed by enemy fire. Tears still come into my eyes when I think about the condition of his mangled body. Because our nation cared, he was restored to a productive life. He also earned a Purple Heart.
The size of the wound makes no difference when it comes to the Purple Heart. The only criteria for receiving it is that the person was wounded in a combat area. As a nation, we should be proud of them all.
Wouldn't it have been great if some official at the Republican National Convention had stood up and said, "The convention will not proceed until those damn Band Aids are removed?" Vice President Richard Cheney was there and could easily have done it.
I wonder what George W. Bush would have done had he been there?
James C. Haught