To the Editor:
This Friday and Saturday, members of the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 74, of which I am a member, will be offering blue Forget-Me-Nots in front of a number of businesses in Gloucester for donations from the public.
We are all Wounded Warriors supporting our fellow wounded warriors; 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of these Forget-Me-Nots will be used by DAV Chapter 74 to support our disabled veterans in the VA hospitals in Massachusetts as well as at the VA clinic in Gloucester.
These are our men and women from all wars, including our current one, who have sacrificed their bodies and psyches in the defense of our country and have often paid a high price for their sacrifices. Sadly, the number of our fellow comrades in arms who have suffered injury and disability in answering the call of our country is rising and not falling in this time of our War on Terrorism.
The proceeds from the donations for these Forget-Me-Nots goes to providing recreational, media and other morale and supplemental items for the benefit of these disabled veterans — items that our veterans sorely need and which the VA hospitals, with their shrinking budgets and increased caseloads, cannot afford and which help our veterans spend their time while they are hospitalized, often for long periods.
Additionally, the monies have been used to provide short-term support to our fellow veterans in need. Over the past years members of DAV Chapter 74 have raised thousands of dollars through the generosity and patriotism of the residents of Gloucester in support of those who need our assistance and who fought and suffered in the defense of our country and our freedoms. DAV Chapter 74 is very grateful for this outpouring of support.
The Forget-Me-Nots had their origin shortly after the decisive battle in the Meuse-Argonne Forest that was fought and won by the Allies on Sept. 26 during World War I. As the Disabled American Veterans noted in its description of the origin of the Forget-Me-Nots, “The Forget-Me-Nots were offered for sale shortly thereafter to a grateful people who had not forgotten their wartime promises that nothing was too good for the returned soldier. The wearing of the Forget-Me-Not meant much more than an expression of sentiment, it carried with it as well the fact that the wearer was performing an unselfish service in assisting unfortunate and needy Disabled American Veterans.”
Isn’t that a message that we want to continue to send to our young men who continue to answer the call of duty in this troubling violent time — that we will never forget their sacrifices, that we will always be there to support them when they return?
Sadly, there are still a few major businesses in Gloucester that have refused to allow members of DAV Chapter 74 to stand outside their establishments to offer Forget-Me-Nots, with the excuse that it was against “corporate policy” or “that if we allow the DAV then we have to allow others.” It is ironic to hear these types of excuses since, but for the courage and bravery of these disabled veterans, there would be no corporate America or corporate policy or opportunities for any other worthy groups to solicit donations. It is a sad commentary when certain business entities in this community appear to favor profits over sacrifice and convenience over caring.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that “Huge Fourth of July Sales” or “Independence Day Bargains or Discounts” were being trumpeted to garner increased sales and profits. Yet, when it comes to thanking those men and women who paid the price with their bodies and their psyches to preserve this independence, they are given a cold shoulder to real support for those very same veterans.
So I call upon the residents of Gloucester, when you see a DAV member this weekend selling Forget-Me-Nots, remember why and remember for whom they are being sold. Please help us help those who need our support in their time of travail and hardship.
To our businesses in Gloucester, DAV Chapter 74 would welcome any contributions that you might desire to provided to help our fellow wounded warriors.
I also call upon the residents of Gloucester to note that, if you don’t see a DAV member in front of a business, ask the owner or manager why not. And if he or she says that they wouldn’t allow it, ask them why they feel that profits should take precedence over patriotism.
Our disabled veterans deserve better!
Middle Street, Gloucester