Keeping Veterans' Sacrifices Alive

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Silver Star Families of America make sure that America never forgets the sacrifice of our wounded men and womenSilver Star Families of America make sure that America never forgets the sacrifice of our wounded men and women
by Donna Teresa

In every war, there is the grim expectation that there will be a tragic loss of life and always with that is the sad reality that there will be many who will be wounded, some very seriously.

Most will come home quietly, and try to start their lives all over again and no one would ever know that they have served their country. There is an organization that is making sure that America never forgets the sacrifice of our wounded men and women.

That group is called the Silver Star Families of America — silverstarfamilies.org — and their mission is to make sure that whenever someone sees a Silver Star banner in a window or Silver Star flag flying, that they remember our nation's wounded.

Steven J. Newton, co-founder of this organization, is a 25-year law enforcement and military veteran. He was inspired, like many who visit VA hospitals, to do more for our wounded military men and women…

     

"Diana Newton and I started this organization after speaking with a couple at a VA hospital," Newton said. "Their son was being treated for wounds he incurred in Vietnam. They stated that all his medals were in a drawer and that everyone had forgotten the blood he shed for his country. We all decided that we needed a symbol to remind everyone of those injured, so began the creation of the Silver Star flag. It is our wish that every time someone sees a Silver Star banner in a window or a Silver Star flag flying, that they remember the sacrifice made by so many."  

This present conflict is no different and this organization is making sure that they are reaching many households by fulfilling flag requests to send to our nation's wounded from any war.

They do so through the generosity of Americans. When a Silver Star banner is sponsored, it is mailed to a veteran who is or was wounded from war. The recipient receives a Silver Star banner to hang in their window and the feeling, said Newton, is very special.

"It seems as a society we honor our warriors during a conflict," he said. "But when the conflict is over, we soon forget. The results and aftermath of a conflict last for a generation. We simply cannot forget those who have suffered wounds, seen or unseen. How will we be able to continue to have a volunteer military in the future if they continue to see us abandon the wounded from this war? Or any war? The very least we can do is remember the sacrifice that they have made for freedom."

When Newton speaks of those who have received the banners, the moments are heartfelt and humbling.

"I remember when we issued every wounded veteran a banner at an American Legion Post, the members mostly from the Vietnam War," he said. "There was not a dry eye in the house. Many said that it was the only thanks they have received since the war. I also remember another time when Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. John Cavaiani was issuing Silver Star banners to the wounded at Palo Alto. He was surprised when a young man in a wheelchair issued him a banner. Imagine that, one hero to another."

The number of our wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan continues to rise. Add up the numbers of our wounded from all of our wars and you would probably pay attention.

These men and women will need some serious care now and in the coming years. I hope every state will do their part to make sure that when their veterans come home they will receive the services they deserve. Please consider sponsoring a Silver Star banner for a wounded veteran, let their star shine brightly and may their sacrifice not be forgotten.

Donna Teresa can be reached at [email protected].


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