America’s World War II veterans are widely known as “The Greatest Generation,” a term coined by former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw as a book title hailing their indispensable contribution to humanity.
Our veterans of what President Harry Truman called the “police action” in Korea served in what was aptly branded “The Forgotten War.”
Our Vietnam veterans fought in a protracted conflict that bitterly divided our nation.
North Charleston, however, is rightly united in honoring all of America’s veterans. And on Nov. 12, the final day of a long Veterans Day weekend celebration, Mayor Keith Summey told a Park Circle audience that the city plans to send local vets of Korea and Vietnam to the national memorials for those wars in Washington, D.C.
In recent years, North Charleston has sent groups of local World War II veterans to their conflict’s memorial in Washington — and to similar sites in New Orleans and Parris Island.
Yet as Mayor Summey said Monday: “We have to recognize the wars that came after” World War II.
Under the mayor’s plan, the first trip, for about 50 vets, could take place as soon as next summer. The estimated cost is $50,000, with half of it coming from private sources and half from the city.
That would deliver a positive big bang for relatively few taxpayer bucks.
And while many folks have questioned the wisdom of our military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade, nearly all Americans now share a deep respect for the men and women of our armed forces.
Too bad that wasn’t always the case during our tumultuous experience in — and debate over — Vietnam.
But good for North Charleston in its uplifting tribute to our veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Like our World War II vets, they answered our country’s call to fight in those faraway realms and made great sacrifices for our country.
Also like that “Greatest Generation,” their ranks are dwindling with each passing year.
And like all of our warriors, past and present, they have earned Americans’ abiding gratitude.