At times during the Vietnam War-Era, returning service members were met with outright hostility. And, there have been times when those who served in the armed forces were simply ignored. The benefits — which they earned through their service — were often mired in bureaucratic red tape and not easily obtained.
Now, all is certainly not perfect, but thankfully attitudes have changed and as a country we do a better job of taking care of veterans and honoring and recognizing their service to our country.
The ceremonies in Pell City on Friday covered all that.
The medals, authorized by the Legislature, were concrete symbols of our appreciation. The site, the new Col. Robert L. Howard Veterans Home, provides several levels of service for veterans, depending on their needs. We believe it is a model for the rest of Alabama and the nation on how to serve those who have served us.
The recognition was appreciated.
“For them to think about us makes me appreciate everything I went in to serve for,” said Lorenzo Burke. And Ralph Parker of Opp, who now calls Pell City home, said, “It means a lot to me.”
It means a lot to us all and these kinds of ceremonies remind us of that.