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letters | remembering the country’s veterans

Let us honor our war dead by taking care of the living

There are many ways to remember the dead and missing from our wars, but leaving an empty seat at the racetrack, in the stadium, or at the bar, as Kevin Cullen suggests in his Nov. 6 Metro column “Seats to remember,” would not be my choice. We honor the dead best by taking care of the living. We do that in the first place by refusing to send our young people to senseless wars and to wars without end.

For those who do return home, battle scarred and unprepared for civilian life, we must generously meet their needs with whatever health care, educational opportunities, and job training that is appropriate to their situation.

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As for MIAs and POWs from past wars, it may be helpful to remember that before the Vietnam War, few had ever heard of a body bag because bodies were not sent home for burial. How could they be? My brother was killed in action flying a B-17 bomber over Belgium early in World War II, and after the war, my mother learned that his body was supposedly buried in an American cemetery in Belgium. Some of my family have visited his grave there. At least they found a white cross with his name on it, and took pictures of it.

To remember my brother, we never set an empty place at the Thanksgiving Day dinner table. Empty seats at home and in public would only tend to glorify war, as most monuments do.

Instead, let us take up the cause of peace, and call for an end to war so that no longer will we continue to create more empty places in our hearts.

Ann Madigan


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