Showing the right respect

Published 8:43 pm Monday, February 6, 2012

Considering the risks they take and the sacrifices they make for the rest of us here in America, it’s almost impossible to thank the brave members of the nation’s military enough for what they do. Americans are called, of course, to honor them on Veteran’s Day, Armed Forces Day and in the occasional public ceremony. But some folks understand that truly honoring these heroes calls for even broader actions.

Two stories from the Sunday edition of the Suffolk News-Herald demonstrate just how much some folks in Suffolk love the men and women who serve in America’s armed forces.

R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home, led by vice president Blake Baker, has joined with Creekside Elementary School, a Girl Scout troop and individuals from Suffolk to collect more than 250 handmade Valentine’s Day cards to send to troops serving overseas.

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Baker hopes to make the project an annual one. But this is not his first effort to honor those who have served. In 2010, he was instrumental in bringing the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, to Suffolk’s Bennett’s Creek Park. It was a moving tribute to true American heroes, and Suffolk was honored to host the visit.

Another man, Clarence Lee, was featured on Sunday talking about his work on behalf of local disabled veterans, whom he serves in his position as commander of the Suffolk chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. In that position, he oversees the organization’s work on behalf of veterans — helping disabled veterans fill out forms necessary to get them the benefits they’ve earned and even helping them find homes if necessary.

As a veteran himself, retired after 28 years with the U.S. Air Force, Lee has a special understanding of the kind of person who serves his or her country and the special debt their nation owes in return. Mostly, he has a heart for helping veterans, which grows in part from a high level of respect for them.

Whether they’re active-duty or retired, disabled or unscathed from their service, the men and women of America’s armed forces deserve our utmost respect. It’s good to see such fine examples right here in Suffolk of different ways to show that respect.