Growing up in Mascoutah during the Vietnam War, I learned to appreciate the many sacrifices soldiers and military families make each day.
Wounded soldiers were transported to and from Scott Air Force Base. On occasions, my parents would give a few soldiers a reprieve from hospital life and invite them to our house for a meal. As kids, we would wave to the pilots and soldiers flying overhead.
When the POWs returned, Jimmy Sutherland's mother loaded us kids into her automobile and drove us to Scott. Standing on the runway tarp with banners we would yell, "Thank you" and "welcome home." The VFW made a large "Welcome home POW" sign on a baseball field so the soldiers could see it as they flew overhead. We rigged a large American flag onto the roof of our home.
I now live in Nashville, Ill. A few years ago one of Washington County's finest returned from Afghanistan escorted by Marines. The procession of motorcycles and emergency vehicles escorted the hearse through small communities lined with thousands of people. We had an obligation to honor Marine Staff Sgt. Jordan Emrick and to express our appreciation by standing quietly along the roadside with American flags in hands.
Please, support the effort to honor and express our appreciation to the millions of active, retired, and deceased veterans by naming the new corridor between Illinois and Missouri "Veterans Bridge." All of them have given something; some gave all.
Richard E. Harris