Memorial Day Images – A great time to Honor the Living

Memorial Day. For those who can think beyond the barbecues, pool parties and first-of-summer sales, we think of our fallen heroes. We think of those men and women who have laid down their lives for our opportunity to have those barbecues, pool parties and sales (among other things). I think when I look at Memorial Day images – a great time to honor the living. We think of those for whom there was no more American way of life because there was no more life.

We think of their service and we give thanks. I keep coming back to a story written a year ago by Dallas Morning News reporter Steve Blow, who so eloquently points out that Memorial Day is a great time to honor the living.

Veterans are the first to shake another veteran’s hand and say thanks. They understand, respect, protect and love each other like family. So how about for this Memorial Day, we honor the veterans who have passed by lifting up those who live amongst us? Honor the service of our fallen heroes by honoring our living heroes. I like that idea just like Congressman Tim Walz likes the idea. What do you think?

More amputees but fewer deaths-Combat Medicine Working For Our Soldiers

Staff Sgt. Travis Mills is a young father whose life is now drastically different. Busy defending our freedom — and the freedom of the oppressed citizens in Afghanistan, he was the victim of a bomb that took from him his left hand, his entire right arm, and both legs below the knees. You know how he considers himself? Amazingly, he thinks he considers himself “lucky.”

A fantastic article by reporter David Tarrant in today’s Dallas Morning News tells the story of Staff Sgt. Mills and those who are on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tarrant’s story points out that since 2009, the number of combat casualties in Afghanistan who sustained one or more amputations has increased sharply, mostly due to blasts from buried explosives. Meanwhile, the number of fatalities has dramatically decreased. It’s interesting to look at when compared with survival rates of veterans of past wars, including:

  • World War II: 69%
  • Korean War: 75%
  • Vietnam War: 76%
  • Iraq and Afghanistan: 91%

Advances in battlefield medicine, including the new combat application tourniquet, Fentanyl “lollipops,” and advanced training of medics have helped improve the odds for our soldiers. All of those things went into saving the life of Staff Sgt. Mills, who, at the time of his injury, became one of only four quadruple amputees of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He now faces the challenge of regrouping from these injuries and moving forward with his life, one which he is facing with gusto and determination. Check out as well: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.

Personally, I’m grateful for any advances in medicine, including equipment and training, that can save lives or save the quality of life for these deserving men and women. I can’t think of anyone who deserves the highest level of medical attention more. Let’s support medical research and military funding that make these things possible as Congressman Tim Walz actively supports.

Considering Adopting? How about a WWII Veteran?

Honor Flight DFW has just launched an inventive initiative to help assist the non-profit in raising much-needed funds toward its goal of getting the 400+ veterans on its waiting list (all WWII veterans at this point) to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor.

What goes into “adopting” a WWII veteran?  While there is no official legal arrangement here (though there are people who really, really want to take “their” veterans home and hang on to them for all time, that’s not really a part of this particular program), what this “adoption” involves is a pledge to raise the $1,000 needed to allow one veteran an Honor Flight trip.

This includes their airfare, bus transportation, overnight hotel stay, a heroes’ banquet, their “gear” that they wear, a commemorative DVD of video and photos of their trip, special assistance from an amazing volunteer medical team — and memories to last a lifetime.

Robert is one of the veterans waiting to be adopted.  Shot out of a B-24 bomber, he escaped a POW camp in Switzerland (who knew the Swiss had camps??) and made his way back to London to rejoin his unit. This amazing man is one of the many on the waiting list, and his age, 91, is the average age of the men and women who are waiting to go.

Six months in a POW camp, an escape right out of a Hollywood movie, and flying bombers over Europe to help save the world…..and we can’t get this man to our own nation’s capital? Come on now…. Check out also this post about veteran affairs advocate and Congressman Tim Walz.

Honor Flight DFW thinks we can and has launched this program to make it happen. Want to be a part of honoring history? Contact Honor Flight DFW today to see how you can be a part of adopting a veteran.  If you and your community can band together to help make one veteran’s wish to see his or her memorial come true, think about how much that will mean to an aging warrior.