Don't forget to fly your U.S. flag at half-staff, or half-mast, until noon Monday. All veterans are encouraged to wear their medals on that holiday.
We are still looking for volunteers to assist marking the graves of veterans in Craig on Sunday at 5 p.m. If you wish to assist come to the Craig cemetery and look for the VFW marked white blazer. Sections of the cemetery and maps will be provided. Bring a small hammer to drive spikes to place the miniature flags. We will also need folks to pull all the flags before sunset on the Monday.
We are sadden to learn that Vic Beckett, who has read the names of the veterans interred at the cemetery, will not be able to perform that role this year.
Vic has health issues that preclude him from doing this service, which he has done for the past 50 years, honoring the memory of the veterans that died in hostile action; or finally succumbed to age or illness. Hopefully Vic will be able to attend and his service be recognized. His family will continue to flag the graves of the veteran sections and the entranceway. Members of the VFW, American Legion, and Sons of the Legion will assume the responsibility for reading the names.
Saturday's Hometown Heroes picnic was a success. Numerous tents were provided for shade and inclement weather. The Craig Daily Press and local service organizations provided and served food. Re-read their ads and thank them when you see them.
The opening services included posting of the colors, patriotic songs, poems and veteran stories read by area school students, and short speeches by the Hixson brothers, Cory and Greg. They addressed the crowd with some of their experiences in Iraq while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Thanks to all who assisted with the event, thanks to the Flower Mine for the bouquet provided in memory of Joe Balleck. Thanks to all who submitted photos of their days in uniform. Thanks to the gentlemen who returned the missing POW/MIA flag that was "borrowed" from the Veterans of Foreign War by young persons, retrieved by the returnees, then turned in to VFW members during the picnic. Know that it is flying proudly again.
Town hall meeting
More than 70 people attended the meeting with the VAMC Grand Junction staff.
Discussions were open and frank. The clinic will be available to all vets enrolled in the system rated priority seven and below. The opening date, at the latest, will be Sept. 30, 2007, if not sooner, once a space is leased and the RN is hired.
The clinic will probably run in the afternoons from noon to 4:30 p.m., unless the demand is for mornings. The clinic will be by appointment only. There will not be walk-ins when it opens.
If the usage increases and a full-time clinic is the result, then walk-ins should be accepted.
It is up to the local vet community to use the clinic, so that it can develop into a full-time, full-service facility. If we don't, then it won't.
However, since its opening with an appointment only schedule policy, it is imperative that if you schedule an appointment and then cannot make it, you must cancel, so that another vet can be seen.
Services to be provided will include: primary care, follow-up visits, mental health visits, various preoperative screenings and post operation management, nurse clinic visits, laboratory blood draws, protime testing, EKG, immunizations -- i.e. flu shots, etc. -- health screenings, wound care, suture removal, health education, medication, blood pressure and diabetes management.
Southern Colorado National Cemetery
The House Vet committee approved HR 1660 by voice vote on May 15. This bill authorizes a new national cemetery in southern Colorado. The bill moves to the House for a floor vote soon. The VFW national Legislative Service will keep Colorado veterans posted.
Medal of Honor Recipient
Are you aware that Craig is the hometown for a Medal of Honor awardee? He was KIA in Vietnam in May 1971, and he is buried at Ft. Logan National Cemetery. We will honor him at this year's Memorial Day services.
The Medal of Honor is awarded by the president, in the name of Congress, to a person who, while a member of the Army, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.