While recently burying my brother, a former Marine, the importance of recognizing and respecting our veterans was reinforced. Former service members that never knew my brother came and paid their respects, one man knelt at the grave site for the longest time and I was moved to tears.
I found a letter that my brother had written following a combat mission in Vietnam and his words were so powerful that I shared the letter with Vietnam veteran Jim Bryant. It later occurred to me that although my brother was not physically wounded in Vietnam he carried home wounds that affected him his entire life; in positive and negative ways.
After speaking with Jim he shared that letter with fellow Vietnam veterans who are organizing to erect a memorial to recognize the service and sacrifices that local Vietnam veterans have given to our country and its way of life. I urge everyone to donate to this memorial by contacting David Gould, Jim Bryant, Nick Valenti or Lou Patti. These men who died in action need to be remembered and memorialized; they are forgotten heroes.
I think this last paragraph of one of my brother's letters sums up a small portion of what men in battle may feel.
"I recalled reading of King Richard returning home from the crusades to the herald of trumpets from his homeland, of the Doughboys returning from France and the crowds in NYC awaiting them to greet them with flags and music. And I thought of the loved ones who did not return from their fields of death, the cry of the children, and the anguish of the wounded. And the fallen ... their blood soaking into the soil; the sound of the music would fall distant in their ears."
Thank you to all veterans for your service.
Tom Adessa is a candidate for Cayuga County Legislature District 12.